The Faraday Institution earmarks up to £42 million to fund four UK battery research projects
The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent national battery research institute, and was established as part of the government’s £246 million investment in battery technology through the Industrial Strategy. Its most recent award this week offers up to £42 million in government funding to four UK-based consortia to conduct application-inspired research into battery technology.
Business Minister Richard Harrington said: “With 200,000 electric vehicles set to be on UK roads by the end of 2018 and worldwide sales growing by 45% in 2016, investment in car batteries is a massive opportunity for Britain and one that is estimated to be worth £5 billion by 2025.
“Through our flagship Industrial Strategy and its Future of Mobility and Clean Growth Grand Challenges, we are committed to making Britain the ‘go-to’ destination for the development and deployment of this game-changing technology.”
The topics for the four projects were chosen in consultation with industry, who will partner closely with each of them. This unique collaboration will help to ensure that the research is producing findings and solutions that meet the needs of business. In addition, industrial partners will contribute a total of £4.6 million in in-kind support to the following four projects:
Extending battery life
Led by the University of Cambridge with nine other university and 10 industry partners, this project will examine how environmental and internal battery stresses (such as high temperatures, charging and discharging rates) damage EV batteries over time. Results will include the optimisation of battery materials and cells to extend battery life (and hence EV range), reduce battery costs, and enhance battery safety.
Battery system modelling
Imperial College London (ICL) will lead a consortium of six other university and 17 industry partners to equip industry and academia with new software tools to understand and predict battery performance, by connecting understanding of battery materials at the atomic level all the way up to an assembled battery pack. The goal is to create accurate models for use by the automotive industry to extend lifetime and performance, especially at low temperatures.
Recycling and reuse
A project led by the University of Birmingham, including seven other academic institutions and 14 industrial partners, will determine the ways in which spent lithium batteries can be recycled. With the aim to recycle 100% of the battery, the project will look how to reuse the batteries and their materials, to make better use of global resources, and ultimately increase the impact of batteries in improving air quality and decarbonisation.
Next generation solid state batteries
The University of Oxford will lead an effort with six other university partners and nine industrial partners to break down the barriers that are preventing the progression to market of solid-state batteries, that should be lighter and safer, meaning cost savings and less reliance on cooling systems. The ambition of this project is to demonstrate the feasibility of a solid state battery with performance superior to Li-ion in EV applications.
Peter B. Littlewood, founding executive chair of the Faraday Institution, said: “To deliver the much needed improvement in air quality in our cities and achieve our aspiration for cleaner energy targets we need to shift to electric vehicles quickly. These research programmes will help the UK achieve this. To be impactful on increasing energy density, lowering cost, extending lifetime, and improving battery safety requires a substantial and focused effort in fundamental research.”
He added that: “Through steady investment in basic research on specific societal challenges identified by industry and government, the UK will become a world-leading powerhouse in energy storage.”
Source: The Faraday Institution