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30 April 2024

MILESTONE: Today was the Opening of the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Battery Cell Production FFB

A significant milestone for the research and production of sustainable and resource-saving battery cells was reached in Münster today: Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wüst and the President of the Fraunhofer Society Prof. Holger Hanselka jointly completed the first construction phase of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the battery cell research production site FFB, often referred to as “FFB PreFab”.

In approximately 6,800 square meters of research space, the Fraunhofer FFB have begun research operations at the original location with the commissioning of innovative European machine technology.

Battery and storage technologies are a key to the success of the energy and transport transition. Electric cars require powerful batteries for corresponding distance ranges, electricity from renewable energies relies on stationary energy storage. As an open battery cell factory for research and development purposes, the Fraunhofer FFB makes a central contribution to advancing the production of battery cells made in Germany. It thus addresses international market needs and contributes to successfully establishing Germany as a technology location in the top international field in the long term.

Opening ceremony in the HansaBusinessPark
The “FFB PreFab” was ceremoniously inaugurated on Tuesday, 30 April 2024, in the Hansa-BusinessPark in Münster with over 500 guests. A sample line for complete battery cell production on a smaller scale enables Fraunhofer FFB to support its industrial partners in testing and implementing new battery cell concepts and manufacturing processes. The focus of the research factory is the production of pouch cells and prismatic cells for research purposes, which are used, among other things, in electric cars, medical technology and smart devices.

Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger said: “Battery technology is an important key and future technology. In Münster we are therefore building up the battery cell production of tomorrow on a large scale. This is a milestone on the path to a technologically sovereign, competitive and sustainable battery ecosystem. The FFB will be a globally unique innovation instrument with which industry and science can test innovative battery technologies as well as develop novel battery cell concepts and efficiently bring them to market maturity. The FFB relies on our excellent science and the core competencies of German industry such as mechanical and plant engineering, the automotive and chemical industries to develop innovative battery cells and corresponding production processes. The Federal Ministry of Research is funding the development of battery cell research production with up to 500 million euros. I am very pleased that research operations in the first PreFab construction phase can now start."

Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst: “Research, development and industrial application are closely linked here in North Rhine-Westphalia. We already hold a leading position worldwide in battery research. The Fraunhofer FFB in Münster will make a central contribution far beyond North Rhine-Westphalia to ensuring that we remain a strong industrial location with safe, good jobs in the future and can achieve our ambitious climate protection goals. The opening of the FFB PreFab – just two years after the groundbreaking ceremony – is an important step on this path."

President of the Fraunhofer Society Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Hanselka: "With the opening of the PreFab, we are reaching an important milestone for the Fraunhofer Society, the FFB battery cell research production and, above all, for sustainable and competitive battery production in Europe. With innovative machine technology, we build a bridge between research and industry for sustainable European battery production. My sincere thanks go to the collaboration with industry, politics and our partners, including the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the city of Münster and our location partners, as well as my colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institutes. Together we have achieved significant progress in battery research and are taking an important step towards a sustainable future."

Worldwide unique concept
The "FFB PreFab" is an important step towards the development of the "FFB Fab", which will create 20,000 square meters of additional production and research space and enable industry-oriented production research and development in the gigawatt range with plant technology on a large industrial scale in Münster. With both systems – PreFab and FFB Fab – the Fraunhofer FFB is currently one of the largest research construction projects in Germany and is unique worldwide in its conception and orientation.

In so-called innovation modules in the “FFB PreFab”, testing areas are available to partners from a wide range of industries. These enable the temporary accommodation of system concepts for joint testing and further development with project partners. Under one roof, the technology maturity is raised from the laboratory to the innovation module to the production line. This advances innovation and commercialization processes and reduces risks when transferring novel cell concepts and production technologies to large-scale production.

Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection and Deputy Prime Minister: “The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has been investing for years in battery research, in corporate and cluster projects and, in particular, in the development of the FFB at the Münster location. We need joint projects like the FFB to ensure the future viability of our industrial location, to successfully shape the energy and transport transition and to achieve technological sovereignty in future fields. The rapid construction and today's opening of the PreFab are evidence of the successful collaboration and a good basis for the second construction phase, the FFB Fab, which is currently being planned. The BatteryCityMünster ecosystem is already showing how successful companies and start-ups can establish themselves around research locations."

Science Minister Ina Brandes: "Our future is only conceivable with smart batteries. They will have a permanent place in people's everyday lives: for energy supply, for electromobility and smartphones - we depend on this key technology everywhere. With the Fraunhofer FFB we have the opportunity to close the gap between basic research and application on a large industrial scale. The science and business location benefit from this excellent ecosystem of research, teaching and application. This makes North Rhine-Westphalia even more attractive for well-trained specialists."

Markus Lewe, Mayor of the City of Münster: "With the opening of the FFB PreFab in Münster, we are taking another big step towards the future. A dynamic cluster with international appeal is being created here, which will sustainably strengthen Germany as a technology location. I am pleased that the vision of #BatteryCityMünster is already being put into practice by science, business and society. My thanks go to everyone involved in this success, for the trusting partnership and the support, especially from the federal and state governments."

Lewe also emphasized the superior relation to the Netherlands and the common TECH.LAND program. The Mayor of Enschede Roleof Bleeker and representatives of the science and economic organizations of the Netherlands (University of Twente, Twente Board, Oost.nl, WTC Twente) and the Euregio were also present.

International pioneer
Roughly 125 employees currently work for Fraunhofer FFB. Together with MEET (Münster Electrochemical Energy Technology) at the University of Münster and other research partners in Aachen, Jülich and the entire Republic, BatteryCityMünster is becoming a central economic and technology location in Germany and Europe, and is experiencing further development that is internationally recognized.

Source: https://www.ffb.fraunhofer.de/de/news/Pressemitteilungen/Eroeffnungsfeier_FFB-PreFab.html
Picture: FFB