New Robot Platform Accelerates Battery Development Process

A new robot platform called Aurora is set to revolutionize the development of energy storage batteries. Developed by Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, in collaboration with Chemspeed Technologies AG, Aurora aims to automate and accelerate the material selection, assembly, and analysis of battery cells in the laboratory.

The Aurora robot platform is part of the European Materials Acceleration Platform within the European Battery2030+ project BIG-MAP. Its goal is to achieve a tenfold acceleration of the current battery development process. By automating time-consuming and error-prone steps, Aurora enables internationally competitive battery research and development.

The robot platform, which is currently being further developed, is autonomous and chemistry-agnostic. It can work with different battery chemistries and generations, making it versatile for improving lithium-ion batteries and developing alternative battery technologies, such as sodium-ion batteries or self-healing batteries.

Aurora utilizes machine learning to create mathematical models and determine the most promising materials and components for battery applications. This allows researchers to optimize the innovation process and explore new battery materials that are cost-effective, readily available, and technologically advanced.

The platform is linked to the Open Research Data initiative by the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH), which promotes digitization in research and sharing data within the scientific community. Aurora is the first robot platform to be integrated with the AiiDA open-source workflow management system, allowing efficient monitoring and evaluation of battery development processes.

With Aurora, the development and market introduction of new battery prototypes can be significantly accelerated. This aligns with the EU’s commitment to sustainable batteries, with over €150 million funding awarded to Battery 2030+ projects under Horizon Europe. The Swiss Battery Days in 2023 will showcase the latest research and innovations in battery materials and fabrication, including presentations from the Aurora project.

Sources: Empa, European Battery2030+