Powering the future with battery energy storage systems

There is a lot of research into how we can further improve battery technologies, as Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are critical to clean energy transition to a carbon-neutral global economy. The ability to store energy from renewable sources for later use or for transport is an important part of the decarbonisation of various industries. Flanders Make is actively involved in a lot of research in the field of battery technologies and companies can also benefit from participating.

Among the various types of BESS, the lithium-ion battery technology is the most widely used type of rechargeable energy storage system. Since the first commercialisation of the Li-ion battery in 1991, this technology has rapidly gained consumer acceptance due to a number of interesting characteristics compared to any other rechargeable battery, such as high energy and high power density, long life and more flexibility in charging and discharging than similar battery chemistries. Today, Li-ion batteries can be found everywhere, from small-sized batteries in portable electronic devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, and tablets, to very large-scale batteries in cars, homes or even industrial sized storage systems.

Industrial applications of batteries

Large-scale battery storage is increasingly used in industrial applications. They are proving their worth in three main categories, and Flanders Make has ongoing research in all of them.


Climate change, air pollution and a shortage of fossil fuel resources are the global challenges driving the regulation for the mobility sector, pushing it towards carbon-neutral drivetrains. Electric driving is on the rise, and the battery as the core component of the electrified drivetrain allows us to move away from CO2-emitting fossil fuels. That same trend is now making its way into large-scale road transport, as well as the maritime and aviation sectors. As the transport sector is one of the most significant sources of air pollution, its decarbonisation is an important step towards a cleaner, healthier and more affordable future for everyone.

Electricity sector

Battery Energy Storage Systems are becoming a key element in the transition of the electricity generation from dispatchable energy sources such as coal and gas to renewable sources such as solar and wind. As renewable energy sources are weather-dependent and intermittent, BESS can effectively store this energy for later use to balance supply and demand, to provide reliable and stable power. The size of these battery systems for grid services can vary significantly from small home batteries for rooftop solar panels to very large battery systems in the order of a few MWh connected to the transmission grid. These large batteries could play a variety of roles in the electricity sector, including frequency regulation, load levelling, backup power, voltage support and energy management.

Manufacturing industry

With regards to the energy efficiency as a core element of Industry 4.0, all industries are trying to find ways to improve their efficiency without causing further damage to the planet. Similar to the electric vehicles mentioned above, forklift trucks, cranes, robots, drones and off-road machines are increasingly being electrified to further reduce the carbon footprint. In addition, batteries play a central role in Industry 4.0, where everything will to be interconnected. The development of the Internet of Things means that many mobile devices and resources need some kind of power source, which is often a battery.

Battery research at Flanders Make

Flanders Make as a strategic research centre for the manufacturing and automotive industry, is at the forefront of electrification of the future vehicles, machines and factories, contributing to a carbon-neutral and sustainable future. In this context, Flanders Make has built up extensive experience in the battery related activities at a system level such as battery architecture and system engineering, electrical and mechanical design, battery management systems and state estimation, advanced cooling and thermal management, functional safety and digitalisation of the battery systems. All these activities are strongly supported by an extensive battery cell, module and pack testing infrastructure, environmental and climatic testing chambers, testing infrastructure for electrical drivetrains and machines, and a modular and flexible high voltage DC simulation system.

Testing infrastructure Lommel

International cooperation in the field of research and innovation has always been of great importance to Flanders Make. Given the strategic role of batteries in the EU plans for a clean and digital energy transition, Flanders Make has been actively contributing to innovative battery research at the European level. A summary on the on-going and upcoming battery-related EU research at Flanders is given below. If any of these projects is relevant for your company, feel free to get in touch.

Upcoming EU projects

By mid-2023, two new EU projects will be kicked-off in which Flanders Make will play a major role.

Next generation high-performance and safe-by-design battery systems

The EU project EXTENDED which will be kicked off by mid of 2023, aims to develop innovative battery system technologies that will benefit various transport and mobile applications, by significantly improving performance and safety, as well as environmental sustainability and cost. The developed technologies and solutions will also be optimized for other applications such as stationery batteries. The battery system in EXTENDED will be based on the next generation solid state battery cell technologies. In this project, Flanders Make as the work package leader will be in charge of performance testing and validation of the developed battery systems.

Digitalization of battery testing from cell to system level

The EU project FASTEST also will be kicked off by mid of 2023. The aim of the second project is to digitise of battery testing, as the existing testing methods, which are mainly based on trial-and-error processes, result in high costs. The digitisation of battery testing will lead to an acceleration of the battery development time, a higher quality of the battery assessment, an improvement of the battery design itself, which will lead to significant cost savings, especially in the development phase. Flanders Make will contribute to the testing of battery cells and modules, the validation of an AI-powered toolchain with regard to the functional failures in the battery system, and also the development of a of hybrid test platform and its digital twin system.

Join us in our research

As you can see, a lot of our efforts revolve around innovative battery technologies to facilitate the crucial transition to renewable and carbon neutral energy sources. If you want to be part in our upcoming projects or want us to solve a battery challenge, then feel free to contact us.

Mohsen Akbarzadeh, Business Developer

Mohsen Akbarzadeh is a Business Developer at Flanders Make. He holds a PhD degree in Engineering Sciences from VUB, specializing in Battery Energy Storage Systems. As a former research engineer, Mohsen has worked on various battery-related topics, including developing and leading European projects focused on next-generation battery systems, hybridization, thermal management and digitalization of batteries.