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New insight into how lithium-rich cathode materials for high energy EV batteries store charge at high voltages

  • By 2030 only EV’s will be in production, meaning manufacturers are racing to create a high-energy battery that’s affordable and charges efficiently, but conventional battery cathodes cannot reach the targets of 500Wh/Kg
  • Lithium-excess cathodes offer the ability to reach 500Wh/Kg but unlocking their full capacity means understanding how they can store charge at high voltages
  • A new X-ray study lead by WMG, University of Warwick has resolved how the metals and oxygen facilitate the charge storage at high voltages

High energy storage batteries for EVs need high capacity battery cathodes. New lithium-excess magnesium-rich cathodes are expected to replace existing nickel-rich cathodes but understanding how the magnesium and oxygen accommodate charge storage at high voltages is critical for their successful adaption. Research led by WMG, University of Warwick in collaboration with U.S. researchers employed a range of X-ray studies to determine that the oxygen ions are facilitating the charge storage rather than the magnesium ions.

Photo of the operando x-ray studies being performed at a Synchrotron facilityElectric vehicles will one day dominate UK roads and are critical for eliminating CO2 emissions, but a major issue car manufacturers face is how to make an affordable long-lasting energy-dense battery that can be charged quickly and efficiently. There is therefore a race to make EV batteries with an energy storage target of 500 Wh/Kg, but these targets are not possible without changing to new cathode materials.

Although progress has continued over the last 10 years to push the performance of state-of-the-art nickel-rich cathodes for EV, the material is unable to provide the energy density needed. To increase the capacity more lithium needs to be used, which means going beyond the ability of nickel to store electron charge.

Lithium-excess magnesium-rich cathodes offer sufficient energy density but to reach ultimately reach energy storage targets of 500Wh/Kg we need to understand how the electron charge is stored in the material. Simply put, is the electron charge stored on the magnesium or oxygen sites.

In the paper, Whither Mn Oxidation in Mn-Rich Alkali-Excess Cathodes?’, published in the Journal ACS Energy Letters today the 17th of February, researchers from WMG, University of Warwick have overcome a significant milestone in understanding of charge storage in lithium-excess magnesium-rich cathodes.

Li-excess compounds that involve conventional and non-conventional redox, conventional refers to metal ions changing their electron density. Reversibly changing the electron density on the oxygen (or oxygen redox) without it forming O2 gas is unconventional redox. Various computational models exist in the literature describing different mechanisms involving both, but careful x-ray studies performed while the battery is cycling (operando) are ultimately required to validate these models.

Researchers between the UK and US, led by WMG at the University of Warwick, performed operando x-ray studies to precisely quantify magnesium and oxygen species at high voltages. They demonstrated how x-ray beams could irreversibly drive highly oxidized magnesium (Mn7+) to trapped O2 gas irreversibly in other materials.

However, by performing careful operando x-ray studies that circumvented beam damage and observe only trace amounts of Mn7+ forming upon charging in Li-excess cathodes during battery cycling.

Professor Louis Piper, from WMG, University of Warwick explains:
“We have ultimately resolved that oxygen rather than metal redox is driving the higher capacity, which means we can now design better strategies to improve cycling and performance for this class of materials.”

ENDS

17 FEBRUARY 2021

NOTES TO EDITORS

High-res images available at:

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/february_2021/operando_x-ray_louis_piper.jpg
Caption: Photo of the operando x-ray studies being performed at a Synchrotron facility.
Credit: WMG, University of Warwick

Paper available to view at: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsenergylett.0c02418

For further information please contact:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

 

Thu 18 Feb 2021, 15:14 | Tags: HVM Catapult Electrochemical Engineering Research

WMG commends the advances to UK innovation, skills and industrial growth made by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and supports NAO recommendations to further improve impact

Professor David Greenwood with Electric Vehicles outside NAIC. - Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has brought government, business and researchers together at scale and at pace, supporting over 1,600 innovation projects, including Coventry’s UK Battery Industrialisation Centre

- NAO right to support streamlining start-up and approvals processes of up to 72 weeks, which can deter bids, especially among smaller businesses

- Longer term visibility of funding will be needed to give investment confidence to businesses and academia

- Mechanisms to engage private sector finance should be considered – especially as innovations become ready for market

- As industry faces challenges of the pandemic, flexibility in financing bids, especially to support smaller businesses, should be considered

- Regional and Skills strategies should be a key part of innovation funding approach

- The Catapult network provides an established and successful platform for innovation, and its geographic locations also suggest it could play a big role in regional levelling-up

- Skills must be developed alongside innovation to give the UK the ability to exploit our ISFC investments. WMG, at the University of Warwick, have been pioneers in developing skills programmes alongside innovation and industrialisation

WMG at the University of Warwick has welcomed today’s National Audit Office report on the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, supporting their positive assessment of the fund, and backed their calls for a more streamlined approach to innovation funding, alongside a greater emphasis on the importance of innovation for regional development and skills growth.

Professor Dave Greenwood, Director of Industrial Engagement at WMG, University of Warwick and Chief Executive of the WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult said:

“The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) has been a powerful tool to support innovation that meets the most pressing national challenges.

“The ISCF has bought government, business and researchers together at scale, and at pace, to help our transport industry decarbonise through the Faraday Battery Challenge, and is delivering vital vaccine capacity through the Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre. It has supported over 1,600 projects, including the new UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry, with over forty per cent of support in the first two waves going to small and Micro companies.

“These projects are making a difference to UK innovation, skills and industrial growth, and these successes should be celebrated.

“As the report says, however, there are always opportunities to improve how the Fund operates.

“First, we need to make the funding process faster and more agile – especially given rapid changes in the external Business and social environment, from Brexit to the Pandemic. Lengthy Approvals processes of up to 72 weeks for selecting challenges and awarding projects can deter bids, especially among smaller businesses.

“Alongside this, with much of industry dealing with financial pressures from the pandemic, government should consider relaxing some of the funding constraints on the programmes – especially where they fall significantly short of what state aid would allow, such as in the co-investment requirement from Industry, which was increased in Wave 3 of the Fund.

“Together, these steps would help position the UK for clean growth post-COVID and deliver on opportunities created for the UK supply chain by the UK/EU trade agreement.

“Looking forward, it’s essential that there is a long-term funding package in place to support the Industrial Strategy Challenges. As the report notes “The Fund was part of a one-year settlement in the spending review in November 2020.” Short term spending decisions will ultimately be detrimental to large scale industrial and academic investments – a 5 year rolling funding horizon is needed for full confidence from Industry partners. To help deliver this, we should consider the role of private finance in these programmes, and what mechanisms might de-risk industry investments to support clean growth.

“It’s also crucial that the ISCF supports regional development as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. Currently, almost half of funding has gone to projects in London and the South East, and while we in the West Midlands have secured significant investment, the ISCF should reflect the regional profile of Industrial R&D more closely. It is notable that government funding relative to private sector investment is much lower in the Midlands than in the South East for instance.

The Catapult network, with centres of excellence across the country, strong links to regional industries, and good networking between them, is an exemplar of how levelling up should be delivered. This established and successful platform could provide an efficient and effective means to boost R&D in under-represented regions in accordance with the recommendations of this report.

“We also need to link innovation spending to the education and skills agenda. The UK needs not just the best technologies but also the people to develop, manufacture and support them. These cannot be developed in isolation. Here, WMGs approach of delivering innovation and skills programmes together and in partnership with industry is an established model, allowing degree apprenticeships, re-training, lifelong learning to support industry innovation programmes. As the Government considers responses to the skills white paper, it should consider how future industry skills needs will be shaped by the innovations being delivered by the challenge fund, from transport electrification to digital skills.


Student recruited by West Midlands SME following success of WMG Internship Programme

WMG Internship ProgrammeIt’s been a really challenging year for many businesses, so the WMG Internship Programme, launched this year, came as welcome news to many.

The Programme is designed to allow companies and students to work together to overcome a business challenge or investigate ways of improving business performance. Interns, placed at companies, are supervised by an expert member of the WMG team to ensure objectives are met and to provide access to world-renown facilities. This means participating companies get the benefit of both the resources and industry-leading knowledge.

Tom Lockhart, WMG SME Project Officer, explains: “Over the past 10 years, we have supported more than 300 internship projects. We work with businesses to identify their challenges, scope out a project and set clear objectives for a short, but focused piece of work.”

One particular highlight of this year’s programme was an internship placement at Alucast, an aluminium casting foundry that supply the automotive industry.

Through a collaborative approach, the student intern, Farhan, was, within just 12 weeks, able to help boost productivity by an impressive 30% and has now been offered a full time position. This is a particularly positive outcome in such challenging times and a real testament to Farhan’s hard work.

John Swift, Managing Director at Alucast, commented: “We have long been an advocate of promoting engineering as a career choice and, with this in mind, it was great to work with Farhan. It reinforced our belief that young students and graduates make excellent employees, combining a great work ethic with technical knowledge and insight. The project really exceeded expectations and we’re pleased to be able to offer Farhan a full-time role with us.”

Read more about the SME Team’s project with Alucast, an aluminium casting company based in the Black Country and more success stories here: warwick.ac.uk/smesuccessstories

To find out more about working with the WMG SME Internship Team email wmgsme@warwick.ac.uk

Thu 04 Feb 2021, 09:25 | Tags: SME HVM Catapult Partnerships

Immersion Cooled EV battery initiative, project i-CoBat, wins The Engineer’s Collaborate to Innovate Automotive Award

The Engineer AwardsProject i-CoBat has been recognised by The Engineer in winning its ‘Collaborate to Innovate’ Award in the automotive category. The Innovate UK research initiative is designed to explore and validate direct immersion cooling of electric vehicle batteries.

The project, led by M&I Materials, is a consortium involving battery systems developer Ricardo and WMG, at the University of Warwick which works to commercially and technically validate new technologies for industry.

Funded by Innovate UK, project i-CoBat uses a novel thermal management system for EV batteries using a novel, biodegradable dielectric fluid called MIVOLT, which allows for faster charging than conventional systems and a higher performance battery.

On receiving the news of the award for i-CoBat, Project Lead, M&I Materials Technical Director, Mark Lashbrook commented:

“We’re thrilled for project i-CoBat to have been recognised with this award, particularly since we were up against some incredibly exciting and forward thinking companies. This award is a testament not only to this type of initiative and what its implications are for the wider EV market, but to both Ricardo and Warwick Manufacturing Group for their extensive knowledge, expertise and leadership. Innovate UK have also been incredibly supportive throughout, so this award is also in recognition of the pioneering research projects, like i-CoBat, which they initiate.”

WMG's Principal Engineer, Stene Charmer, added: “I am thrilled and delighted that the ICO-BAT team have won this award. It has been wonderful to work with M&I materials and Ricardo, supporting the research of our advanced battery cell, module testing and advanced simulation techniques. At WMG we are leading innovative battery research and development, and innovative battery thermal management systems, the technology researched within ICO-BAT, are key to realising cost effective electrical energy storage systems for passenger vehicles.”

ENDS


WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult helps British taskforce develop UK negative pressure ventilator to assist recovery of COVID-19 patients

British taskforce develop UK negative pressure ventilatorAs the UK feels the impact of the current wave of coronavirus, the exovent task force today unveils its UK negative pressure ventilator designed to assist the recovery of COVID-19 patients and for the treatment of Pneumonia and COPD.

The exovent task force formed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis, inspired by calls from the UK Government for rapid innovation to combat the challenge presented by this highly contagious and aggressive disease. The team is composed of anaesthetists, critical care consultants, nurses, medical clinicians, engineers, academics, scientists and manufacturers.

exovent was not part of the UK Ventilator Challenge as this was conceived for positive pressure devices. Instead, the exovent team focused on exploring the benefits of negative pressure ventilation, founded upon lessons learned from nearly 100 years of Negative Pressure utilisation.

Thanks to the investment of over £1m of volunteer time, rapid engineering development and prototyping by Marshall ADG (the UK’s leading privately owned Aerospace and Defence business) and partnership with WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a highly professional system is now available for approval.

The latest and most advanced iteration, the exovent-19, is ready to progress to approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Once approved, several leading intensive and respiratory care units stand ready to trial the system, including the Critical Care Research Team, Southampton NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (University Hospital Southampton & University of Southampton) and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn NHS Trust.

Recognising the applicability of the technology to developing countries, the team has also been partnering internationally with pioneer groups in Ghana, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia to help them develop local versions that can be approved and manufactured by them using locally sourced materials where possible. Marshall has shipped two of its protoype exovent machines designed and manufactured at its Cambridge headquarters, direct to Indian ventilator manufacturer, Skanray, who plan to use them, along with the supporting design information, to develop a relatively low cost production model that can be rapidly approved and developed for mass distribution in their local markets as quickly as possible.

exovent are hoping to come to an agreement with a UK based manufacturer in the coming weeks. In addition, the team plan to develop both a global low cost system and a paediatric low cost system working with UK engineering partners.

Speaking about the new system, exovent CEO, Ian Joesbury, stated:

“We are really excited to be unveiling this life saving system which is a cutting-edge reinvention of pre-existing technology. In the UK I believe this can form part of a longer-term plan to treat COVID-19. As the patient does not need to be anaesthetised it opens up alternative treatment options that may allow more patients to be treated outside of intensive care.”

Dr Malcolm Coulthard, from the exovent team, said:

“From research and findings to date, we firmly believe that the use of negative pressure devices can transform the patient journey for COVID-19 patients and those with pneumonia and other diseases that affect breathing. The technology is safe, simple to use and systems could be built and deployed rapidly, in both the UK and overseas. Our recent paper published in the medical journal Anaesthesia demonstrates that the exovent-19 is twice as efficient as other negative pressure systems.”

Patrick Wood, Chief Technical Officer at Marshall ADG, shared:

“Our engineering team have designed a robust and reliable system using rapid prototyping methodology that enabled the first systems to be functionally tested within a few weeks of our first discussions. We look forward to seeing the system help patients across the globe once it is approved.”

David Rawlins, Chief Technology Officer for WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre explained: “When exovent initially contacted WMG back in March 2020, the opportunities to support the UK and international pandemic efforts with a lower cost alternative treatment route were clear. Minimising time to deliver the first prototype was key, and WMG supported exovent in engaging organisations to support the effort. Marshalls ADG responded to the request and significant efforts from the engineering and manufacturing teams delivered the initial prototypes in a few weeks with support from the wider UK industry supply chain. I would like to congratulate all the engineers and medics who have achieved this milestone, and I look forward to seeing the project progress on a global scale once approvals are in place and trials have completed.”

Margot James, Executive Chair at WMG added: “I am very proud of WMG’s involvement in the development of exovent, the negative pressure ventilator promises to help more Covid patients be treated effectively as with established ventilator technology, whilst needing less oxygen and nursing resource. I congratulate the team of engineers and medics who have brought forward this innovation.”

How exovent works as an alternative treatment for COVID-19

One of the key features of COVID-19 is that it can cause pneumonia and acute respiratory failure, with over 2 million recorded deaths across the world by mid January 2021. Many countries, including the UK, took substantial action to mitigate the impact including putting in place support for ventilator production. However, whilst ventilators and high flow oxygen devices are clearly lifesaving, they are not without their challenges and may not be suitable for all patients, particularly the elderly.

In contrast, the exovent-19 has key benefits that make it particularly suitable to support COVID-19 patients. Use of negative pressure is far less intrusive and much more like normal breathing than either intubation or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). exovent-19 is non-invasive, which means that patients do not need to have their windpipes intubated, so they don’t need to be anaesthetised and oxygen can be delivered in the form of a normal oxygen mask or nasal prongs rather than through a high flow oxygen device that puts hospital oxygen supplies under pressure. Patients remain conscious, and can take medication and nutrition by mouth, and talk to loved ones on the phone.

exovent-19 works by being fitted over the patient’s torso and can operate in two modes, continuous negative extrathoracic pressure (CNEP), the negative pressure equivalent of CPAP, increases the volume of air in the lungs while the patient continues to breath for themselves by applying negative pressure to the outside of the patient’s chest and abdomen. Negative pressure ventilation (NPV) cycles that negative pressure and reduces the effort required for a patient to breath. The level of support can be increased or reduced progressively to help in the patient’s recovery. It also increases the heart’s efficiency compared to conventional ventilators which squeeze the chest and put pressure on the heart. The simple design concept for the exovent system makes it widely accessible with highly cost effective, reliable units able to be readily manufactured and approved around the world.

Longer term vision

The vision of the team is a world where everyone has access to non invasive breathing support when they need it. Recognising the important contribution that exovent systems can make in achieving this in the longer as well as the short term, the task force decided to register as a UK Charity. The team is very grateful to law firm Bates Wells who generously donated their time and expertise and to many other companies who have provided support.

The response of the Charity Commission was also enormously impressive - understanding the urgency, they registered the charity in just one working day. Charity Commission CEO, Helen Stephenson, later explained that like Bates Wells, her team was determined to do what they could to help the COVID effort and prioritised all COVID related applications.

 

ENDS

For more information see https://www.exovent.info/

Note to Editors

Medical benefits

· exovent-19 can provide an alternative choice to using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) by delivering continuous negative extrathoracic pressure (CNEP). This device does not require to be driven by pressurised air or oxygen. Additional oxygen that the patient needs can be provided with tubing or a face mask as required

· exovent-19 should give excellent oxygen and carbon-dioxide transfer because replacing PPV+PEEP (positive pressure ventilation + positive end expiratory pressure) with NPV+NEEP (negative pressure ventilation + negative end expiratory pressure) has been shown to give equal or improved gas transfer when treating ARDS

· exovent-19 should increase the heart’s efficiency by up to 25% compared to conventional PPV which squeezes the heart and veins in the chest and may actually reduce cardiac function. This is especially important because COVID-19 can make heart function worse

· exovent-19 is non-invasive, which means that patients do not need to have their windpipes intubated, so they don’t need to be sedated or paralysed. Instead, they can remain conscious, take medication and nutrition by mouth, and talk to loved ones on the phone

· Being non-invasive and simple to use, exovent-19 could be used in intensive care or potentially on an ordinary ward

· exovent-19 only covers the torso so monitoring is still possible, and patients can be easily treated while prone (lying on their front) which is more effective in treating pneumonia. Oxygen can be delivered direct to the patient by mask or tubing as required

· exovent-19 is less likely to cause a pneumothorax (burst lung) as negative pressure ventilation produces less micro-trauma to the lung

Manufacturing benefits:

· Can be rapidly mass produced

· Uses parts currently available in the UK

· Has a small number of moving parts

· Does not compete for the same resources required by the commissioned manufacturers of PPVs

· Unlike PPVs or CPAPs, exovent does not require medical-grade compressed gases, which are at risk of shortage in the NHS due to heavy levels of demand for oxygen (although Covid-19 patients will need to be treated with oxygen)

· Is less expensive than other forms of ventilation

· Can be assembled at speed

 

Wed 20 Jan 2021, 10:00 | Tags: HVM Catapult Partnerships Research

Revolutionising the manufacturing industry through digitalisation

Until now, smaller manufacturing companies have missed out on the productivity benefits of digital technologies and data-driven solutions. Too many manufacturers don’t know where to start, and lack the skills required to deploy and use digital solutions. The costs are perceived to be high and the return on investment is unclear.

A consortium, including WMG at the University of Warwick, has been awarded funding through the Government’s Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge to tackle this problem by developing a Smart InforMation PLatform and Ecosystem for Manufacturing (SIMPLE).

Project SIMPLE will bring the benefits of digitalisation to manufacturers for whom the technology, skills, and business benefits are currently inaccessible. The project will deliver a platform that is fast to deploy, easy to use, cost-effective, and versatile. And it will be supported by an ecosystem that addresses skills and training requirements.

The consortium includes a wide range of end-user, academic, and technology partners to provide the necessary breadth of expertise:

Innovare Systems (construction) is representative of SMEs seeking to improve their operations through the deployment of digital capabilities, but have a low skill level in the domain, bare bones IT capabilities and low levels of automation

Lear Corporation (automotive) is representative of global organisations challenged by their operational complexity, the diversity of technologies deployed in production, fragmented software landscape and data repositories

The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre is seeking a vendor independent solution that can support their short-term objectives and scale up rapidly to support multiple production campaigns in the future

WMG, University of Warwick is a world leading research and education group, transforming organisations and driving innovation through a unique combination of collaborative research and development, and pioneering education programmes

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a government agency that carries out research in science and engineering. The focus for project SIMPLE is on knowledge representations and knowledge models relevant to manufacturing

Fully Distributed Systems (FDS), AI Idea Factory and 4thWall Virtual develop engineering tools, industrial software components and supply related services.

The benefits of SIMPLE will be validated via deployment of the platform at the end-user partners’ facilities - demonstrating the value in three different use cases. The deployment of a skills training system at WMG, University of Warwick, will validate the skills and training proposition.

Project SIMPLE is co-funded by the businesses in the consortium and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, through the Manufacturing Made Smarter Competition. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Manufacturing Made Smarter Round 1 Competition offers grant funding investment in projects that focus on the use of industrial digital technologies (IDTs) to transform the productivity and agility of UK manufacturing. Of 34 applications submitted, project SIMPLE is one of 14 projects approved following independent assessment and expert review.

Daniel VeraDr Daniel Vera, from WMG at the University of Warwick comments:
“At WMG, we will be focussing on making sure that manufacturers become fluent in deploying and using digital systems. Our training platform will mean that manufacturers can confidently use data-driven methods and digital solutions to optimise their processes, which in turn can speed up their project delivery and significantly improve their business operations.”

Jason Powell of Innovare Systems adds:
“The technology is important as it offers greater operational transparency, which allows greater scrutiny of performance whilst maintaining the production activities’ live information. Additionally, this system can also be used as a tool to drive production efficiency through optimising performance which will increase capacity. We are expecting this technology to boost productivity by 10% even from the early deployment.”

Matt Patching of the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre said:

“The SIMPLE toolset will help us deliver battery technologies and processes to industry at a rapid rate. The flexible design will be compatible with our range of manufacturing processes, ranging from electrode and cell assembly, to module and pack, and to consistently present the relevant information. The scalable nature means that new promising technologies in the battery field can be implemented into our digital systems as quickly as it can be installed at our site.”

The project will engage the wider manufacturing community to ensure the SIMPLE platform and methodology addresses the widest set of manufacturers’ needs. For further information, please contact peter.hopkinson@fullydistributedsystems.com.

ENDS

6 JANUARY 2021

NOTES TO EDITORS

About WMG, University of Warwick

WMG is a world leading research and education group, transforming organisations and driving innovation through a unique combination of collaborative research and development, and pioneering education programmes.
As an international role model for successful partnerships between academia and the private and public sectors, WMG develops advancements nationally and globally, in applied science, technology and engineering, to deliver real impact to economic growth, society and the environment.
WMG’s education programmes focus on lifelong learning of the brightest talent, from the WMG Academies for Young Engineers, degree apprenticeships, undergraduate and postgraduate, through to professional programmes.
An academic department of the University of Warwick, and a centre for the HVM Catapult, WMG was founded by the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 to help reinvigorate UK manufacturing and improve competitiveness through innovation and skills development.

About Innovare Systems

As the only provider to have complete design to delivery capability in-house, Innovare Systems is uniquely placed to simplify the offsite construction process to help clients manage time, cost and risk more effectively. Innovare Systems’ aim is to make it easy for clients to achieve the time and cost saving benefits of offsite construction and make full use of the greater flexibility offered through a joined-up design, manufacture and installation solution with its i-SIP panel system.

About Lear Corporation

Lear, a global automotive technology leader in Seating and E-Systems, enables superior in-vehicle experiences for consumers around the world. Lear’s diverse team of talented employees in 39 countries is driven by a commitment to innovation, operational excellence, and sustainability. Lear is Making every drive better™ by providing the technology for safer, smarter, and more comfortable journeys.

About UKBIC

The £130 million UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) is a pioneering concept in the race to develop battery technology for the transition to a greener future. The unique facility provides the missing link between battery technology, which has proved promising at laboratory or prototype scale, and successful mass production. Based in Coventry, the publicly-funded battery product development facility welcomes manufacturers, entrepreneurs, researchers and educators, and can be accessed by any organisation with existing or new battery technology – if that technology will bring green jobs and prosperity to the UK.

In addition to funding from the Faraday Battery Challenge through UK Research and Innovation and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, UKBIC is also part-funded through the West Midlands Combined Authority. The project has been delivered through a consortium of Coventry City Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and WMG, at the University of Warwick. UKBIC was created in 2018 following a competition led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre with support from Innovate UK

About Fully Distributed Systems

FDS specialises in the development and integration of control and software solutions for manufacturing industries. In the last 5 years, FDS has developed expertise in the development and deployment of Industrial IoT integration platforms and common manufacturing and production data models, in line with the requirements of Industry 4.0 and digital manufacturing solution development.

For further information please contact

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk


WMG delivers special STEM parcels to local schools

WMG delivers STEM parcel to Arley Primary SchoolThe WMG Outreach team has been making special Christmas deliveries to children across the West Midlands and Warwickshire.

Young engineers from a total of 15 local schools have been sent parcels with card templates of stars, stags, sleighs and baubles; a mini laser-cut Christmas tree and 3D printed cubes, octopuses and dinosaurs.

The year five and six children were also set some special STEM challenges including creating their own 3D Christmas decorations but without the use of glue.

WMG Outreach Project Officer, Phil Jemmett explained: “These boxes use the expertise of engineers at WMG to create exciting activities to engage children with ‘engineering’ - without a car in sight. We want to provide children with a chance to see creativity and engineering as two parts of the same approach to solving a problem.

“Inside the boxes are templates to build Christmas decorations out of paper – and once they have made a few they will notice the advantages of flat-packing the items we see in shops because they won’t all fit back in the box they came from!

“Last year, this resource box was the most fun activity we worked on. It has been a bit different this year and without the help of our fantastic technicians Beth Haynes; Joe Benjamin and Ehman Altaf, it would not have been possible to laser cut or 3D print any items to go in these boxes.”

WMG Director of Outreach and Widening Participation , Professor Margaret Low added: “I’m delighted that WMG is again able to share the engineering activity boxes with local primary schools. It’s important that we work in partnership with teaching colleagues at all stages of education, to raise awareness of engineering and how it contributes to our society.”

Find out more about WMG’s Outreach programme here.

*In total 25 boxes were sent out. Local schools involved were:

· St Giles Junior School, Bedworth

· Charter Primary School, Coventry

· St Joseph, Kings Norton, Birmingham

· St Columba, Rednal, Birmingham

· St James, Rednal, Birmingham

· St Thomas More, Sheldon, Birmingham

· St Brigid, Northfield, Birmingham

· St Paul, Birmingham

· Arley Primary School, Nuneaton

· Burton Green Primary School, Coventry

· Balsall Common Primary School, Balsall Common

· Burbage Junior School

· Dorridge Primary School, Solihull

· Shottery St Andrews Primary School

· Clifford Bridge Academy, Coventry

 

Wed 16 Dec 2020, 09:35 | Tags: HVM Catapult STEM Public engagement Outreach

High-rate Li-ion batteries demonstrate superior safety

As the inevitable growth of transport electrification continues, the types of batteries that will be used in such vehicles, their charging parameters, infrastructure and timeframes are key considerations that will speed up the transition to electrification.

In the paper, Determining the Limits and Effects of High-Rate Cycling on Lithium Iron Phosphate Cylindrical Cells’ published in and on the cover of the Journal Batteries, researchers from WMG, University of Warwick investigated the impacts on battery cell ageing from high current operation using commercial cells.

They used two tests to establish the maximum current limits before cell failure and applied this maximum current until cell failure. Testing was performed to determine how far cycling parameters could progress beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations.

During testing, current fluxes were increased up to 100 C cycling conditions. Charge and discharge current capabilities were possible at magnitudes of 1.38 and 4.4 times, respectively, more than that specified by the manufacturers’ claims. This increased current was applied for 500 charge-discharge.

However, the application of these currents resulted in a rapid decrease in capacity in the first 60 cycles as well as an increase in resistance. Furthermore, the application of such currents resulted in the increase of cell temperature, during both charge and discharge with natural convection during the rest step cooling the cell. Batteries operate in an optimum temperature range, and any deviations outside this can cause components and chemicals to start decomposing inside them.

They also identified deformation of the “jelly roll” (coiled electrodes and separator) with formation of lithium plating from testing and ageing. These deformations emanate from the centre of the cell in an axial direction towards the outside of the cell, suggesting the core of the cell was the hottest.

Justin Holloway, Lead EngineerLead Engineer, Justin Holloway, from WMG, University of Warwick comments:

“The testing showed there is a window for operating batteries above manufacturer stated current limits, however, whilst maintaining manufacturer stated voltage limits. We need to ensure that batteries operate in as the safest manner possible, and for an appropriate practical lifetime, which is why the manufacturers have these limits.

“We also identified thermal fatigue as the driving mechanism for jelly roll deformation. With each cycle of charge and discharge, the cell experienced thermal stresses causing deformation of its components. These deformations grew progressively with cycle number, while the jelly roll was constrained mechanically by the rigid outer can and centre pin.

“If convection cooling could be applied to the centre of the cell where the cell was the hottest, these deformations could be mitigated and controlled, allowing the cell to maintain capacity and resistance criteria for longer.”

The researchers would like to thank all involved in this work, including WMG’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult and The Faraday Institution. WMG’s Battery Forensic Group, led by Dr Mel Loveridge is keen to engage with industry and academia alike to grow advances in understanding new materials, battery performance and degradation modes.

ENDS

14 DECEMBER 2020

NOTES TO EDITORS

High-res images available at:
https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/december_2020/justin_holloway.jpg
Caption: Justin Holloway, from WMG, University of Warwick
Credit: WMG, University of Warwick

Paper available to view at: https://www.mdpi.com/2313-0105/6/4/57/pdf

For further information please contact:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

 

Mon 14 Dec 2020, 11:05 | Tags: HVM Catapult Electrochemical Engineering Research

WMG supports key Midlands Manufacturing report

M2R reportWMG Centre HVM Catapult was pleased to contribute a chapter to the recent Midlands Manufacturing Resilience Commission (M2R) report: Manufacturing Confidence.

Led by M2R Chairman, Dr Clive Hickman, the Commission gathered evidence from a series of roundtables, surveys and contributions from some 200 participants from industry, academia and Government, including WMG’s Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy, Jan Godsell.

The various discussions centred around key issues impacting Midlands’ manufacturing including skills, productivity, supply chains, leadership, innovation and finance, plus the region’s identity and reputation now and in the future.

This work culminated in “Manufacturing Confidence,” which shares the findings of those discussions, supported by a series of independently authored chapters focusing on key themes.

CEO WMG centre HVM Catapult and Director of Industrial Engagement, Professor David Greenwood authored the Manufacturing Business Support section of the report. This chapter considered the specific needs of Midlands Manufacturers, with one of the recommendations being the provision of a ‘one-stop-shop’ for business support focusing on sustainability, innovation and skills development.

An official launch event took place, virtually, on 2nd December, with presentations from Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands; Nadhim Zahawi MP and Hannah Boardman, Director, Advanced Manufacturing, BEIS.

Download the report here.

Mon 07 Dec 2020, 18:07 | Tags: HVM Catapult Manufacturing

WMG's Professor David Greenwood responds to the Government’s new climate target plan that was announced today

Professor David GreenwoodProfessor Greenwood, CEO WMG centre HVM Catapult and Director of Industrial Engagement, comments:

"Today’s announcement, alongside the previously announced Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, shows that the UK intends to take a leading role in decarbonisation, and to reinvigorate our economy in doing so. Delivering this will not be easy, but this clear and consistent policy is an essential first step.

“The decarbonisation of the transport sector will be a major contributor to delivering on this challenge. The current generation of EV technology performs well in passenger cars but remains too expensive for many people, and the cost of the battery is the biggest factor in this. To reduce costs, two things must happen – significant investment in fast charging infrastructure, meaning that battery sizes can be reduced, and sustained investment in R&D into the technology of batteries and their manufacturing processes.

“Beyond passenger cars there are great opportunities for the UK in micro-mobility (e-bikes, scooters, motorcycles and small vehicles), low carbon freight, rail, maritime and aviation. To ensure sustainability of the products we roll out today, we must also be investing in the technologies of recycling and re-use of their component parts – and these too will present industrial opportunities for the UK to secure material supply chains and minimise environmental impact.

“To ensure our innovation investment benefits Britain’s economy, we need a clear action plan to expand and strengthen our transport supply chain. This includes supporting skills and retraining, widening access to finance, improving the industrialisation of innovation and attracting manufacturing investment to the UK.

"Investment in the industries and people striving to make transport zero carbon is the only way that we will achieve a green transport future that is convenient for its users and achieves long term sustainability."

 

Fri 04 Dec 2020, 13:54 | Tags: HVM Catapult Research Transport Electrification

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