Empa robot accelerates battery research


Dübendorf ZH – The Aurora robotic platform from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa) is designed to take over the automated and autonomous material selection, assembly and analysis of battery cells in the laboratory. In this way, Empa aims to develop new types of energy storage ten times faster.

Researchers at Empa are in the process of accelerating the development of urgently needed new energy storage systems by a factor of about ten with the help of the Aurora battery robot. This should make European battery research and development internationally competitive.

“While the robot weighs, doses and assembles the individual cell components with constant precision, initiates and completes charging cycles accurately or performs other repetitive steps, researchers can use the data generated to further advance the innovation process,” Enea Svaluto-Ferro is quoted as saying in an Empa report. He is currently implementing the work steps and training Aurora.

“The chemistry-agnostic Aurora also allows us to bring prototypes from our labs, such as saltwater or solid-state batteries, to market more efficiently and quickly,” said Prof. Dr. Corsin Battaglia, head of Empa’s Materials for Energy Conversion lab. The robot platform, which Empa also presents in a video, is currently being further developed in its laboratories together with the company Chemspeed Technologies AG from Füllinsdorf BL.

Aurora is part of Horizon Europe‘s Materials Acceleration Platform, which is being built within BIG-MAP, the largest project within the EU’s Battery2030+ research initiative. Battery2030+ was recently funded by the EU with over 150 million euros.

Aurora is also embedded in the ETH Board ‘s Open Research Data initiative. Among the systems used is AiiDA, an open source workflow management system developed as part of the MARVEL National Center of Competence in Research. The researchers will present Aurora at the Swiss Battery Days 2023 from September 18 to 20 at the Paul Scherrer Institute. ce/mm