Researchers at Empa’s Materials for Energy Conversion laboratory in Dübendorf and ETH Zurich are working on accelerating the process of battery development through the use of automation. They are utilizing the Aurora robot platform, which is designed to automate material selection, assembly, and analysis of battery cells in the laboratory. With the goal of achieving a tenfold acceleration of current development processes, the robot platform is being developed as part of the European Materials Acceleration Platform within the European Battery2030+ project BIG-MAP.
The Aurora robot platform, currently being developed in collaboration with Chemspeed Technologies AG, automates time-consuming and error-prone steps in battery research and development. It can accurately weigh, dose, and assemble individual cell components, initiate charging cycles precisely, and perform repetitive tasks. Researchers can then utilize the data generated by Aurora to drive innovation forward.
What sets Aurora apart is its potential for autonomy. Through machine learning, the Aurora AI has the capability to create mathematical models and determine which experiments should be conducted next, as well as identify promising materials for specific battery applications. This would enable the development of batteries beyond lithium-ion, such as sodium-ion batteries and batteries with self-healing mechanisms.
Furthermore, the Aurora robot platform is integrated with the ETH Board’s Open Research Data initiative, which aims to promote digitization in research and make data freely available to the scientific community. The platform utilizes AiiDA, an open-source workflow management system, to communicate with the Aurora AI. Data is then transferred to the openBIS data management system developed at ETH Zurich. This comprehensive digitalization strategy allows for efficient monitoring and evaluation of battery development and manufacturing processes.
The European Union has invested €150 million in sustainable batteries through the Battery 2030+ initiative. This funding will support cutting-edge projects coordinated by Battery 2030+ to make Europe a leader in the development and production of green batteries.
In conclusion, the Aurora robot platform is driving innovation in battery development by automating and accelerating crucial research and development processes. Its potential for autonomy and integration with open-source systems paves the way for the development of various types of batteries. With the support of the European Union, Battery 2030+ is at the forefront of developing sustainable batteries for a carbon-neutral society.
– Empa: https://www.empa.ch/web/s604/aurora
– Battery 2030+: https://battery2030.eu/
– Swiss Battery Days 2023: https://batteryday.ch/