The projects were commissioned by the Faraday Institution, 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. Industrial partners will contribute a total of £4.6 million in in-kind support.
“With 200,000 electric vehicles set to be on UK roads by the end of 2018 and worldwide sales growing by 45 per cent in 2016, investment in car batteries is a massive opportunity for Britain and one that is estimated to be worth £5 billion by 2025,” said Richard Harrington, UK business minister.
A project looking at extending battery life will be led by the University of Cambridge with nine other university and 10 industry partners. This will will examine how environmental and internal battery stresses such as high temperatures, charging and discharging rates that damage electric vehicle (EV) batteries over time. Results will include the optimization of battery materials and cells to extend battery life and EV range, reduce battery costs, and enhance battery safety. With Cambridge, university partners include University of Glasgow, University College London, Newcastle University, Imperial College London, University of Strathclyde, University of Manchester, University of Southampton, University of Liverpool and Warwick Manufacturing Group.
Imperial College London (ICL) will lead a consortium of six other university and 17 industry partners on battery system modelling for new software tools to understand and predict battery performance. The aim is to create accurate models for use by the automotive industry to extend lifetime and performance, especially at low temperatures. With ICL, university partners include University of Southampton, Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Oxford, Lancaster University, University of Bath, and University College London.
A project led by the University of Birmingham, including seven other academic institutions and 14 industrial partners, will look at how spent lithium batteries can be recycled. The aim is to recycle 100% of the battery, reusing the batteries and the anodes and cathodes. University partners include the University of Leicester, Newcastle University, Cardiff University, University of Liverpool, Oxford Brookes University, University of Edinburgh, and the Science and Facilities Technology Council.
For the fourth project, the University of Oxford will lead an effort with six other university partners and nine industrial partners to develop solid-state batteries with higher performance than Li-ion in EV applications. With Oxford, university partners will include the University of Liverpool, University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, University of Cambridge, University College London, and the University of St. Andrews.
The first phase of the Faraday Institution is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). Headquartered at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus (above), the Faraday Institution is a registered charity with an independent board of trustees and is currently recruiting a director. The £246m ‘Faraday Battery Challenge’ aims to develop and manufacture batteries for the electrification of vehicles over the next four years.
“Michael Faraday founded battery science and electrical engines in the 19th Century, and the UK led the invention of Li-ion batteries for mobile electronics in the 20th. In the 21st, it should lead in the transition to electrification of vehicles, and then in the convergence of the digital and electrified economy. This is the goal of the Faraday Institution,” said Professor Peter Littlewood, the founding Director of the Faraday Institution.
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