CARL building Copyright: © ISEA

The Center for Ageing, Reliability and Lifetime Prediction of Electrochemical and Power Electronic Systems (CARL) is an interdisciplinary research centre at RWTH Aachen University. On 5,000 square meter, CARL provides a unique combination of research infrastructure around the topic of aging and lifetime of energy storage devices and power electronics and offers space for more than 100 employees.

The building is divided into three sections. Section A, facing the campus-boulevard, houses event rooms, electronics labs, chemistry labs and offices on a total of five floors. Section B, which is separated from Section A in terms of fire protection, can be used for environmental tests on battery cells, battery modules and battery packs. Section C, at the rear of the site, houses forty test cells for continuous cycling of batteries or other energy storage devices. A total power of 7 megawatt is available to supply the electrical test setups. The power supply is supplemented by a photovoltaic system on the roof of Section C with a peak power of 99 kilowatt.

For the operation of sensitive computer tomographs and electron microscopes, underground laboratory rooms with shielding against electromagnetic fields are available, the temperature of which is kept as constant as possible with precision air-conditioning cabinets. At the other end of the spectrum, the building provides space for three shakers. Vibrations from the shakers are decoupled via separate foundations so that microscopes and other sensitive equipment in the rest of the building are not affected. Battery cells can be analyzed in a variety of ways in a chemistry lab covering more than 500 square meter. The chemistry lab is supplemented by a dry room where prototype cells can be set up at a dew point of -60 degree celsius. A clean room is also available for work on power electronics modules.

The construction was financed by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Federal Ministry of Research and Education and RWTH Aachen University after selection by the German Science Council. It was realised by the Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW. The building was designed by the architectural firm kister scheithauer gross. The general contractors for the construction of the CARL were Derichs und Konertz, ZECH Bau and ENGIE.