A milestone on the road to the green mobility of tomorrow

Ceremonial opening of the research factory of the Center for Hybrid Electric Systems Cottbus (chesco) with Minister President Woidke, Science Minister Schüle and State Secretary Kellner

Together with guests from politics, science and business, the chesco research factory at the Cottbus-Dissenchen site was opened on (today) May 24, 2024 in the presence of Brandenburg's Minister President Dr. Dietmar Woidke, Science Minister Dr. Manja Schüle and Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection Michael Kellner. Tours of the production halls and panel discussions provided detailed information about the state-of-the-art production technologies. The opportunities offered by research and innovation for the transformation of Lusatia were also highlighted.

Minister-President Dietmar Woidke said: "We have set the right priorities for structural change in Lusatia with business relocations, research and science. The first measures are taking effect. New industrial jobs have been created and new research institutes have settled in Lusatia. As the future core of the Lusatia Science Park, Chesco provides the crucial link between industry and science. Today's opening of the research factory is therefore a doubly important milestone. The chesco research factory gives companies access to state-of-the-art technology and innovative manufacturing processes with a focus on climate-friendly flying and Alternative Propulsion. They can try out which solution is the right one for their future technology in a professional test field. The scientists, in turn, benefit from the close cooperation with practitioners. Basic and application-oriented research is geared towards the innovations that industry and SMEs are looking for. The triad of research, prototype production and professional testing brings considerable added value for all involved and creates the best conditions for a broad network of research and business partners.
Chesco will radiate far beyond Lusatia and strengthen Brandenburg as a land of innovation. I would like to thank BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and all the partners involved for their commitment. They have managed to coordinate planning and implementation in such a way that we can open the research factory today and start with concrete projects. The window of opportunity for the development of new mobility technologies is now and we want to and will be part of it." (not yet released)

State Secretary Michael Kellner, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, says: "The Chesco Research Factory concept clearly demonstrates how sustainable structural change, research and innovation can be combined and succeed. We have intensively accompanied and supported these activities from the idea to the opening. In the Cottbus region, future topics such as climate-neutral flying are being driven forward. With the research factory and the establishment of companies, innovations and research are being brought closer to practical users. This creates future prospects, jobs and added value for the entire region."

Science Minister Dr.Manja Schüle adds: "chesco is developing into an innovation laboratory and a transformation forge in the heart of Lusatia. Ambitious research is being carried out here to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time: the development of climate-friendly aircraft engines. And: chesco has long been a pull factor for the entire region. The center is not a hermetically sealed ivory tower in which excellent minds tinker away in silence. Instead, chesco provides concrete and relevant answers to pressing questions in close cooperation with numerous local partners and far beyond the region. I am convinced that it is not those who invest in industrial jobs, but those who invest in innovation who invest in the future."

ThePresident of the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) Prof. Dr. Gesine Grandeemphasizes: "In just five years, the chesco research factory has emerged from a vision for climate-friendly mobility. This was only possible thanks to the incredible commitment of the two project managers, Prof. Möhlenkamp and Prof. Höschler, their team and the employees in our administration. This project could only be successfully launched thanks to the unusually close cooperation between science, politics and business. In future, innovative hybrid-electric systems for aviation, the automotive industry, rail transport and shipping will be developed here in one place, from planning to prototypes to testing. I am particularly pleased that we can now also redesign the link between research and teaching with the new Master's degree course in Hybrid Electric Propulsion Technology. Chesco is a central pillar in the 'Energy Transition and Decarbonization' profile line and part of the close networks with our scientific partners, especially the DLR Institute of Electrified Aircraft Propulsion."

The opening of the chesco research factory represents a first milestone on the way to developing alternative drive technologies in Cottbus and thus makes a contribution to the climate targets set by the federal government: the factory has machinery for the innovative and efficient production of prototypes in the production area. The annexes cover processes in the areas of raw material preparation, fixture construction, additive manufacturing, machining, heat treatment and sintering, inspection and analysis as well as the later production of electric drive components.

In additive manufacturing, chesco currently has machines that can process plastics as well as ceramic and metallic materials. The layer-by-layer construction method makes it possible to create complex shapes and structures that could not be achieved using conventional methods. The quality of components is checked using state-of-the-art X-ray computed tomography, which makes it possible to analyze the inside of workpieces. In particular, inclusions or cavities can be identified. In addition, a coordinate measuring machine allows the shape and surface quality of components to be precisely checked for optimum functionality.

Around 150 guests came to Hall 4, the future test area of the research factory, to find out about the equipment and research and transfer projects. The opening event was hosted by stage performer Jessy James LaFleur.

Research for a sustainable Lusatia

One of the main aims is to make the expertise of the chesco research factory and its infrastructure available to companies in Lusatia and thus strengthen the regional economy in Lusatia, which has been affected by the coal phase-out. This will be realized within the "taf - Transfer of Agile Manufacturing Methods" project, which is funded with 18 million euros and covers 5,100 square meters in three halls.

The two scientific directors of chesco, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Höschler, Head of the Department of Aircraft Engine Design, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Georg Möhlenkamp, Head of the Department of Power Electronics and Drive Systems at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, explain: "We see our work primarily as a structural strengthening project. With our knowledge of innovative production methods, for example, we want to show companies in the region opportunities for cooperation and the expansion of their own business areas," says Klaus Höschler. "At the same time, our research and development activities create opportunities for collaboration on the mobility of the future. In concrete terms, we are talking about up to 400 jobs for the region," continued Georg Möhlenkamp.

Dr. Jane Worlitz, operational manager of the project, explains the added value of the project for the region: "In the taf project, we have designed a series of workshops together with various BTU chairs that are tailored to the challenges of structural change. This gives small and medium-sized companies in Lusatia the opportunity to try out innovative manufacturing methods and implement their own development projects."

Mobility research in Lusatia relies on successful collaborations

The potential uses of the chesco research factory extend beyond the aviation and mobility sectors. Modern manufacturing processes such as 3D printing can also find applications in other areas of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, Medical Engineering, Energy and Process Engineering and many other fields. In particular, these manufacturing processes also offer many opportunities for skilled trades and smaller production companies. The "Innovationsdruck" network was founded within taf together with the German Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Der Mittelstand, BVMW e.V.) and local companies on the topic of additive manufacturing. Companies can exchange ideas and contribute project ideas here.

The panel discussion "How research and innovation are funding change in Lusatia", in which representatives of the local economy (Orthopädie- und Reha-Team Zimmermann, F&L Plastics Technology, BVMW e.V., Deutsche Bahn) took part as part of the opening event, showed what successful examples there are in knowledge and research transfer. Representatives from Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Boeing and APUS discussed what the future of green mobility in aviation could look like in concrete terms and what challenges are associated with hybrid-electric flying during the panel discussion at the opening event.

About the Center for Hybrid Electric Systems Cottbus (chesco)

We make green mobility happen - that is the mission of the Center for Hybrid Electric Systems Cottbus (chesco). With chesco, an integrated research and cooperation center is being created in which up to 400 employees will be able to plan, test and implement climate-friendly flight propulsion systems for short and medium distances in the future. The fields of application will be expanded to include the automotive, rail and shipping sectors.

The chesco accelerates the development time of innovative drive technologies through the central pooling of research, production and testing expertise. The chesco research center is used to develop the design of components and systems. In the Fast-Make Electrification Research Center (f-merc), researchers create prototypes that are tested in the test center. All processes are digitally networked with each other.

Over 30 chairs from the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg contribute their expertise to the research. The chesco cooperates with partners from industry and science. These include collaborations with universities throughout Europe, non-university research institutions such as the Institute of Electrified Aircraft Propulsion of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), several Fraunhofer Institutes and Access e.V.

In 2021, the eligibility of the chesco project for funding was confirmed by the state government's interministerial working group (IMAG) for Lusatia. In the coming years, a total of 238 million euros will be invested in the construction and equipment of the research center on the site of the future Lausitz Science Park (LSP) Cottbus. Funding for chesco will be provided via the Brandenburg State Chancellery's funding guideline for structural development in Lusatia, with the funds coming from the federal government's Structural Strengthening Act.

Contact persons:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Georg Möhlenkamp, Scientific Director
T +49 (0) 355 69 4021, E georg.moehlenkamp(at)b-tu.de

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Höschler, Scientific Director
T +49 (0) 355 69 4332, E Klaus.Hoeschler(at)b-tu.de

Dr. Jane Worlitz, operational management
T +49 (0) 355 69 5036, E jane.worlitz(at)b-tu.de

Press contact

Ilka Seer
Referat Corporate Identity
T +49 (0) 355 69-3612

Contact us

Susett Tanneberger
Kommunikation und Marketing
T +49 (0) 355 69-3126
Many people got this successful project off the ground. Representatives of the federal government, state, city and university cut the ribbon together at the opening of the chesco research factory: (Photo: BTU, Sascha Thor)
Brandenburg's Minister President Dietmar Woidke gives a welcoming address at the opening (Photo: BTU, Sascha Thor)
Tour through the halls of the research factory with the landed guests. State-of-the-art technology is available here for the development and production of prototypes (Photo: BTU, Sascha Thor)
Exchange and networking between the guests from science, politics and business (Photo: BTU, Sascha Thor)
Working on a metallic workpiece that was created using the laser powder bed fusion process (laser powder bed fusion technology) by selective laser melting. Processes such as these are particularly important for the production of electrical drive components.
3D print sample from the innovative production facilities at the chesco research factory. The image shows production using the binder jetting process, in which a liquid binder is applied to a thin layer of powder particles, for example acrylic. (Photo: BTU, Sascha Thor)