STFC experts to contribute to new £55million energy storage research

5 Sep 2019 11:18 AM

Scientists and engineers from STFC are to contribute to new £55million research projects aimed at facilitating improvements in cheaper, safer and more efficient batteries for applications including electric cars.

It is hoped that the research will facilitate step changes in battery chemistries, systems and manufacturing methods, with hopes of bringing about improvements in batteries used for electric vehicles and other applications such as grid storage with improved performance and cost.

The STFC researchers involved in two of the winning project consortia are:

Professor Bill David yesterday said:

“ISIS has made significant contributions to battery research since first neutrons were produced in 1984. These contributions have ranged from early research into spinel-based lithium-ion cathode materials through to providing important evidence for major lithium-ion battery litigation cases. Over the past four years, we have worked closely with Faradion Ltd, the world leader in non-aqueous sodium-ion cell technology, to understand the detailed relationship between electrochemical performance and anode and cathode chemistry and crystal structure. This has led to significant insights and developments in these batteries.

“Our Faraday Institution-funded collaboration will not only enhance the partnership between us and Faradion but enable a larger community of battery scientists to work together to maintain and improve the UK’s leading position in sodium-ion batteries.”  

Team-mate Professor Martin Owen Jones added:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for scientists at ISIS to partake in the ‘Batteries for Britain’ challenge into the development of new generations of sodium-ion battery materials. We will focus on leading the enhancement of our world-leading neutron-based instrumentation not only to enable sodium-ion batteries to be studied under operating conditions and but also to provide deeper insights into the relationship between atomic structure and battery performance.”

Dr Playford yesterday said:

“This funding will allow us to look into making new cathode materials for Li-ion batteries. Improving battery technology is a vital part of reducing pollution by enabling the switching of petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles over to electric power. We need batteries that can store more energy in a smaller space, that are cheaper, safer and last for longer than those we have at the moment! We will work with experts across academia and industry to address these issues, using innovative materials design and characterisation methods to develop new cathode materials that will become part of a new generation of better batteries. As part of this consortium, we hope that we hope that we, and the world-leading neutron diffraction and muon spectroscopy facilities available at ISIS, can contribute to the UK’s ability to produce more efficient and more cost-effective electric vehicles in the future.”

The new projects, which are due to run over four years, join the existing Faraday Institution research projects that aim to accelerate breakthroughs in energy storage technologies to benefit the UK in the global race to electrification, as part of the Faraday Battery Challenge. More information on the previous round of funding is available here.

Read the full release on the Faraday Institution website.