In the use of renewable energies, power electronics is of great importance in the conversion of electrical energy. The share of electrical energy processed by power electronics is constantly growing and includes generation, transport and distribution up to the final consumption. The integration of energy storage and conversion systems into energy systems also requires the use of efficient and intelligent power electronics. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s institutes have set themselves the goal of increasing the efficiency, availability and service life of power electronic systems while reducing overall costs. Research into the integration of storage systems using power electronics is being carried out in numerous projects, including in the areas of electromobility and power grids.
The use of modeling and simulation tools plays an essential role for research and development in the field of energy storage and conversion systems. For example, data on physical and electrochemical processes in different batteries and fuel cells can be obtained in specially developed simulation environments. In addition, our battery emulations - virtual batteries - allow the optimization of battery management systems (BMS). With the data obtained from the simulations and practical investigations, we support our customers in the design of energy storage facilities (storage systems) as well as mini- or microgrids and enable a techno-economic evaluation of storage technologies.
Compared to charging through power cables, inductive charging offers numerous advantages: It is a flexible and convenient solution that has fewer potential hazards and enables improved integration into the energy supply network. Bidirectional inductive charging, especially in the field of electromobility, increases user comfort through automated charging processes and can thus increase user acceptance of electric vehicles. Researches of the Fraunhofer Energy Research are optimizing the possibilities of wireless charging of electric vehicles and other electric consumers and are testing the performance of corresponding systems under real conditions.
In the area of storage management and monitoring with a focus on batteries, competencies of Fraunhofer’s institutes include battery simulation and emulation, the development of battery management software or algorithms, and remote battery (system) diagnostics with regard to ageing, residual value, and lifetime prognosis. For our customers, we also offer testing of battery management systems using special test systems.
Safety is a top priority in the development and operation of energy storage systems. To this end, we identify potential hazards and develop appropriate standards and test specifications to improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen storage systems, for example. Using so-called post-mortem analyses, our experts can also determine the causes of storage system failures in retrospect. It also ensures that energy storages are subjected to a large number of safety tests prior to market launch. We offer a comprehensive infrastructure for various performance and safety tests, for example in test laboratories for lithium and redox flow batteries.
The demand for energy storage has grown enormously in recent years. In order to avoid losses in the product and material cycle and to reduce the negative environmental impact of energy storage systems, experts of Fraunhofer Energy Research are working on concepts for the economic recirculation of storage components. The aim of our activities is to establish an efficient, economical and sustainable value chain or cycle of value creation involving all relevant stakeholders. With regard to batteries, these primarily include raw material suppliers, battery cell manufacturers, distributors and recycling companies. Among other things, the institutes of Fraunhofer Energy Research support their customers in the development of safety technology, automation and separation processes for the dismantling of storage systems. Moreover, we evaluate recycling processes economically and ecologically.