Research Training Group CircularLIB - Economies of scale in circular battery production

Funding: Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony

Duration: From 2021 to 2024

Project description

The research training group "CircularLIB" is a joint project funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture to support the battery cluster in the Braunschweig region in order to research the circular production and use of lithium-ion batteries and thus advance the introduction of closed material cycles for lithium-ion batteries. In this program the three universities TU Braunschweig, TU Clausthal and Leibnitz Universität Hannover are cooperating with the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST. The focus of the AIP's work is on the model-based design of the capacity build-up of circular battery production on the basis of scalable production and recycling technologies.


Raphael Ginster

Project partners

  • Technische Universität Braunschweig
  • Technische Universität Clausthal
  • Leibnitz Universität Hannover
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Schicht- und Oberflächentechnik IST

Initial situation and problem definition

Through the combustion of fossil fuels and the resulting emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), the transport sector contributes significantly to resource depletion and global climate change. As a result, government regulations aim to reduce CO2 emissions from the transportation sector, which also imposes new challenges on the automotive industry. To meet these requirements, the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) to alternative powertrain technologies such as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) or fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) is being discussed. These alternative powertrain technologies require a traction battery for energy supply, which is currently designed as a lithium-ion battery. Limited and valuable resources (e.g., cobalt, nickel, lithium) are needed to produce these traction batteries, so policymakers are initiating measures to promote battery recycling to enable a circular economy of traction batteries in the long term. The circular economy is characterized by recycling of materials from end-of-life batteries as well as new raw materials to produce batteries and meet the primary demand for new electric vehicles (EVs).

Objectives and approach

The overarching goal of the Research Training Group is the realization of circular production for lithium-ion batteries, with particular emphasis on the topics of process engineering for battery material production and conditioning, sustainable battery cell production, and recycling processes. The combination of these topics should ultimately lead to an optimal design of the capacity build-up of a circular battery production based on scalable production and recycling technologies. For this purpose, approaches of operations research and activity analysis as well as system dynamic models will be combined. The research results will be dissemined for further research, the political framework and for decision makers from the industry.