PEM Researches Laser Drying Process for More Economical Battery Production

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In the joint project "IDEEL", the chair "Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components" (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University is working with numerous partners from research and industry to investigate the implementation of laser drying processes for the economical and ecological production of lithium-ion batteries. The project is funded by the federal government as part of the larger "Battery materials for future electromobile, stationary and other industry-relevant applications" (Battery 2020 Transfer) program. The "IDEEL" project's aim is to replace the convection drying process commonly used to date with a new type of process.

Less space and energy required

The corresponding laser drying process is expected to bring considerable savings in energy and space costs. In addition, the implementation of an inline sensor system is expected to enable continuous control of the temperature, which will allow less scrap in production. In the field of electrode production, costs have so far been largely determined by the energy-intensive production step of electrode drying. Conventionally, a convection oven is used for this. However, the lack of directionality of the heat input results in high heat losses. In addition, the oven process can only be monitored and controlled locally to a limited extent, which leads to rejects due to non-detectable inhomogeneities in the drying process. The "IDEEL" project therefore aims to transfer laser drying from laboratory scale to industrial scale.

Less CO2, lower costs, cheaper electric vehicles

This requires interlocking investigations at the material and process levels. In particular, the upscaling of this novel process technology requires in-depth research into the material behavior under sudden and highly efficient energy input, and the material composition must be adapted accordingly. The desired significant reduction in the area and energy requirements of the drying step, while maintaining the same quality in electrode production, should save investment and operating costs. Ultimately, this should also result in significantly less CO2 being required in battery cell production. The corresponding cost savings should benefit all end products such as electric cars, from which the consumer will profit.

New possibilities in energy control

According to initial estimates, the drying step at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Battery Cell Production FFB in Münster accounts for around 29 percent of the production costs of a 21700 cell. More efficient energy injection using diode laser radiation makes it possible to reduce these costs, making battery cell production more attractive in European and global competition. The modular design and high temporal resolution controllability of the diode laser beam source is expected to open new possibilities in energy control during the drying step of electrode fabrication. Adjustment of the irradiated area and adjustment of the intensity fields should enable the process to respond flexibly to the fabrication of different material systems, electrode formats, layer thicknesses and throughputs. The gradual scaling of the process technology from proof of concept to industrial-scale demonstration will be accompanied by process simulation to address transition challenges at early stages.


Sebastian Wolf © Copyright: Fotostudio Verena Neuhaus


+49 1511 4971593


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The project

  • "IDEEL": Implementation of Laser Drying Processes for Economical & Ecological Lithium-Ion Battery Production

Research objectives

  • Implementation of laser drying processes for more economical production of lithium-ion batteries
  • Implementation of inline sensor technology for continuous temperature control for reduced production waste
  • Process simulation for stepwise scaling of process technology from proof of concept to industrial scale demonstration

Research and project partners

PEM of RWTH Aachen University
Münster Electrochemical Energy Technology (MEET) (WWU Münster)
Fraunhofer Research Institution for Battery Cell Production FFB
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT)
Laserline Gesellschaft für Entwicklung und Vertrieb von Diodenlasern mbH
COATEMA Coating Machinery GmbH
Optris GmbH


  • 10/01/2021 through 09/30/2024

Project management

Projektträger Jülich (PtJ)

Funding code

  • 03XP0414D


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)