AMTE Power is scaling up testing of its high power battery cells at its Thurso factory in Scotland.
“We’re one of the only cell manufacturers working in the UK right now, with commercial partnerships in place to support requirements for energy storage and specialised automotive industries,” said Steve Farmer, Innovation Director at AMTE Power.
“Using our existing factory, we can anticipate what challenges or opportunities large-scale manufacturing rates might bring. This gives us greater certainty on both cost and the reliability of supply for our customers. This is also supported by the work we are doing with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry,” he said.
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The Ultra Energy (UE) cell and Ultra High Power (UHP) cell currently undergoing significant scale up and testing trials at the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) in Coventry for automotive applications using lithium ion and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistries. The company is also working with Faradion on solidum ion batteries for home storage applications.
One of the most important parts of the manufacturing process is the end of line testing for new cells before they are sent to customers. This accounts for one-third of all production costs and if this can be shortened, significant savings can be passed on to customers. It also means the footprint of new factories can be reduced because less space is needed for storing cells while testing is ongoing.
End of line testing can take up to three weeks, but the ideal time for different cell chemistries is unknown. AMTE is working with partners at the Thurso site for this for the Ultra High Power cell.
This project focuses on the ageing process for new batteries. This is related to optimising the contact layers (interphases) between the anode, cathode and electrolyte. These interphases are crucial for a good state of health at the beginning of a cell’s life, helping to protect and guarantee its long-term performance as well as safety.
During the ageing process, a very small current flows through a cell. This decreases as the process gets closer to being finished, so by tracking how it changes determines when this stage is complete and exactly how much time to allow for it in future. Because the current is so small, it’s difficult to measure accurately using conventional methods so we’re developing an imaging system which uses quantum sensors. These detect the strength of the magnetic signal created by the current flowing through the cell.
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