Researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick have developed a new direct, precise test of Lithium-ion batteries’ internal temperatures and their electrodes potentials and found that the batteries can be safely charged up to five times faster than the current recommended charging limits. The new technology works in-situ during a battery’s normal operation without impeding its performance and it has been tested on standard commercially available batteries. Such new technology will enable advances in battery materials science, flexible battery charging rates, thermal and electrical engineering of new battery materials/technology and it has the potential to help the design of energy storage systems for high performance applications such as motor racing and grid balancing.
If a battery becomes over heated it risks severe damage particularly to its electrolyte and can even lead to dangerous situations where the electrolyte breaks down to form gases than are both flammable and cause significant pressure build up. Overcharging of the anode can lead to so much Lithium electroplating that it forms metallic dendrites and eventually pierce the separator causing an internal short circuit with the cathode and subsequent catastrophic failure.
The new high-tech laboratory, measuring 15m by 16m, was lowered into position by WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) at the University of Warwick.
This new facility is funded through the Government’s Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) programme. There are three test modules. The first two provide battery pack testing up to a total power of 1MW, 1200V, 2400A. The third test module provides mechanical testing facilities to enable researchers to fully characterise a lithium-ion cell’s mechanical behaviour over its entire temperature and state-of-charge operating range.
New research led by WMG, at the University of Warwick has found an effective approach to replacing graphite in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries using silicon, by reinforcing the anode’s structure with graphene girders. This could more than double the life of rechargeable lithium-ion based batteries by greatly extending the operating lifetime of the electrode, and also increase the capacity delivered by those batteries.
Today, Tuesday January 23rd 2018, the Faraday Institution announced up to £42 million in new government funding to four UK consortia to conduct research aimed at overcoming battery challenges to accelerate the electric vehicle revolution, and WMG at the University of Warwick will be partners in two of those four new consortia.
The Faraday Institution, which WMG at the University of Warwick helped to form, is the UK’s independent national battery research institute, and it was established as part of the government’s £246 million investment in battery technology through the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Its formation was announced in October 2017 by the Business Secretary Greg Clark. The research it supports at organisations such as WMG at the University of Warwick aims to put the UK on the map as being at the forefront of battery technology worldwide and radically increase the speed with which we are able to make the move to electric vehicles.
Greg Clark announces £80 million funding for Coventry, Warwickshire and University of Warwick partnership to create new national battery facility
A partnership between WMG, at the University of Warwick, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and Coventry City Council has been awarded £80 million to establish a new National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NBMDF). The announcement was made by The Rt Hon Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, while attending an energy conference on the University of Warwick campus on Wednesday 29th November 2017.
The new national facility will be established in the Coventry and Warwickshire area by WMG, the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and Coventry City Council and it will enable UK based companies and researchers to come together to build and maintain a world leading position in manufacturing technologies for batteries and their components in vehicles and transportation. It will provide a crucial new strategic link between the research, development and full-scale industrialisation for battery technologies across the UK.
It will enable effective partnerships between manufacturers, researchers, and economic development leaders, while remaining independent from commercial interests and it will be governed with transparency.
WMG, at the University of Warwick has joined a £1.3 million project with Connected Energy, Jaguar Land Rover and Videre Global to establish key components of a world leading second life battery value chain. The project is co-funded by an Innovate UK grant, awarded in October.
Connected Energy, a pioneer in site-integrated energy storage solutions, is based in Newcastle upon Tyne with a technical centre near Norwich. Its British designed E-STOR energy storage technology will be adapted to integrate recycled Jaguar Land Rover batteries, with other work to be undertaken by WMG on the use of varied second life battery modules. This innovative approach will further increase Connected Energy's knowledge base and performance of their E-STOR systems.
Reuse of electric vehicle batteries is compelling circular economy innovation. Second life enables greater exploitation of the carbon and energy embedded in the manufacturing of the batteries, adding to the sustainability credentials of electric vehicles as well as the electricity system. Using second life batteries also reduces system costs - making energy storage systems financially viable for a wider range of end users.
WMG at the University of Warwick is the academic research partner to the project. It is a department of the University of Warwick, and has a considerable reputation for energy storage research.
Intelligent construction machines which are more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly are set to enter the market, thanks to pioneering software developed by WMG, at the University of Warwick, and JCB.
The software was created as part of the Off-Highway Intelligent Power Management (OHIPM) project – a collaboration between JCB, WMG and Pektron, part-funded by Innovate UK - which sought to create the next generation of JCB vehicles.
Wanting to produce machines which emit fewer CO2 emissions, and to maintain their business performance in a changing market, JCB enlisted the world-class expertise of Dr James Marco from WMG’s energy team.
Dr Marco’s team analysed huge amounts of JCB data to establish which parts of the machine fleet could be most effectively optimised through intelligent power solutions, and how to benefit JCB’s diverse range of customers around the world.
The team at WMG then created the control software to operate intelligent engines with automotive powertrain technology, enabling them to sense when the machines are idle and make the decision to switch themselves off (or power down) when power is not required – leading to optimal energy efficiency and minimal pollution.
WMG researchers at the University of Warwick part of new national £65 million battery research programme
WMG researchers, at the University of Warwick, will be a significant part of a new £65 million national battery research initiative. The Faraday Institution, a new multi-million pound research institute, was announced on Monday 2nd October 2017, by Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It will drive and accelerate fundamental research in developing battery technologies, and its translation.
The Faraday Institution (FI) will be the UK’s independent, national institute for energy storage research. Funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) from the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), the Faraday Institution is part of the coordinated activity between UKRI partners Innovate UK and EPSRC with the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to meet the Faraday Battery Challenge, announced by the government in July, of delivering an integrated programme of research, innovation and the scale-up of novel battery technologies.
The UK’s leading battery researchers in academia worked closely with UK industry to assess the challenges and opportunities, and the seven university founders (Cambridge, Imperial, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton, UCL and Warwick) proposed to charter an independent national Institution as the best way forward. The ambition of the Faraday Institution is to make the UK the go-to place for the research, development, manufacture and production of new electrical storage technologies for both the automotive and the wider relevant sectors.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman, WMG, University of Warwick comments “I’m delighted to hear that the Government have announced plans to establish a centre for battery research in the UK. Not only will this support the Industrial Strategy, it will help change the perception of Britain from labs to manufacture.”
“Coventry and the sub region has a significant contribution to make in the delivery of the UK’s national industrial strategy, being in a strong position to lead the advancement of battery development, and vehicle electrification and autonomous vehicles. It will be at the heart of the drive to make the city a smart motor city.”
“Building on our automotive heritage, together with the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, we are keen to develop and expand battery R&D, which will see the creation of these skilled jobs which will also be a trigger for other development by the private sector.
“Having a 37 year track record of working jointly with industry to innovate, and as leaders, for 15 years, in battery development, WMG are poised to continue to drive forward battery innovation and help create growth and employment in the UK.
The full announcement from the Business Secretary Greg Clarke MP can be heard here.