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‘Nextrode’ project to revolutionise the manufacturing of battery electrodes

· Nextrode project could revolutionise the way electrodes for Li-ion EV batteries are manufactured

· Smart high performance electrodes could enable EVs to travel further and be more durable

· WMG at the University of Warwick will research and model new and existing manufacturing processes to unlock full potential of electrochemical materials in cells

The Faraday Institution funded “Nextrode” project, involving WMG at the University of Warwick, will research ways to make electrodes for Li-ion batteries which unlock the electrochemical potential of their ingredients.

WMG, at the University of Warwick, is one of six university partners in the Nextrode project, which is led by the University of Oxford, alongside six industry partners – including the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) who will be researching how to make electrodes for Li-ion Electric Vehicle batteries more efficiently.

Today’s Li-ion batteries are made using a 'slurry casting' process, whereby the active materials are mixed in a wet slurry and coated onto thin foils of aluminium or copper, then dried and compressed. This process is highly effective for mass production, but is developed empirically through trial and error, at great cost to the manufacturer.

In this project, WMG will gain greater depth of knowledge in that process with a view to being able to predictively model and optimise it, so that future electrodes can be cheaper, store more energy, and get to market faster. To do this, WMG will use their state-of-the-art “battery scale up” facility, as well as taking data from the UKBIC when it opens next year.

Furthermore, slurry cast electrodes limit the performance of the battery as the active electrochemical materials are uniformly distributed throughout the electrode structure. Research has shown that arranging the materials in a structured way can dramatically improve battery performance, but at present there is no mass-manufacturing route to do so. This project will investigate new manufacturing methods to create structured electrodes in a cost effective way at high manufacturing volumes.

Professor David GreenwoodProfessor David Greenwood from WMG, University of Warwick comments:

“Battery manufacturing is a critical industry for the UK to grow. It is highly competitive, and to win, we will need excellence in both science and manufacturing. The Nextrode project brings these two elements together to make future Li-ion batteries for Electric vehicles more energy efficient and affordable. Our unique research facilities are key to acquiring the knowledge required to deliver a step change in industrial capability."

Professor Patrick Grant from Oxford University who will lead project comments:

“Nextrode aims to strengthen the scientific understanding of existing electrode manufacturing so we can make it more flexible and extract further performance gains, but we will also develop a new generation of manufacturing approaches for ‘smart” electrodes where the different electrode materials are arranged with greater precision and provide even greater performance benefits. We anticipate these benefits could be realised for almost any type of battery chemistry”.

This project is just one of five that the Faraday Institution has announced today, 4th September. In total, it will award up to £55 million to five UK-based consortia to conduct application-inspired research over the next four years to make step changes in the understanding of battery chemistries, systems and manufacturing methods.

Business Minister, Nadhim Zahawi comments:

“Today’s funding backs scientists and innovators to collaborate on projects that will deliver a brighter, cleaner future on our roads. We are committed to ensuring that the UK is at the forefront of developing the battery technologies needed to achieve our aim for all cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040.”

Neil Morris, CEO of the Faraday Institution comments:

“It is imperative that the UK takes a lead role in increasing the efficiency of energy storage as the world moves towards low carbon economies and seeks to switch to clean methods of energy production. Improvements in EV cost, range and longevity are desired by existing EV owners and those consumers looking to purchase an EV as their next or subsequent car. Our research to improve this web of battery performance indicators (which are different for different sectors) are being researched, with a sense of urgency, by the Faraday Institution and its academic and industrial partners. Our fundamental research programmes are putting the UK at the forefront of this disruptive societal, environmental and economic change.”

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, comments:

“Bringing together experts across industry and academia, this exciting research will grow our understanding of battery chemistries and manufacturing methods, with the potential to significantly improve the UK’s ability to develop the high-performance electric vehicles of the future.

ENDS

4 SEPTEMBER 2019

Notes to Editors

Full list of Institutions include:

University of Birmingham

University College London

University of Oxford

University of Sheffield

University of Southampton

University of Warwick

For further information about the Faraday Institution visit: https://faraday.ac.uk/

For further information please contact:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

 

Wed 04 Sep 2019, 11:08 | Tags: Partnerships Research Battery Scale-Up

Charging ahead!

Battery SchoolWMG is pleased to announce that its Battery School is now officially supported by the Faraday Institution.

In its role as the Electrical Energy Storage APC Spoke, WMG’s battery experts together with guest lecturers facilitate a mix of presentations and practical hands-on lab sessions covering electrochemistry, applications, future technologies, manufacturing, safety, testing, forensics and battery end of life.

The new collaborative Battery School was officially opened by Neil Morris, CEO of the Faraday Institution, with the first session held for 25 PhD students and future battery engineers, in June.

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage science and technology, supporting research, training, and analysis. It brings together scientists and industry partners on research projects to reduce battery cost, weight, and volume; to improve performance and reliability; and to develop whole-life strategies from mining to recycling to second use.

The Battery School is situated at WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre – the largest facility of its kind in the UK. Find out more about the Energy Innovation Centre here.

Thu 18 Jul 2019, 13:23 | Tags: HVM Catapult Partnerships Battery Systems Engineering

WMG brings together key experts to discuss the future of transport

ACES dinnerLast week, WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult hosted an Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared (ACES) networking dinner in partnership with NatWest and Lombard.

The event brought together CEOs, CTOs and senior executives from UK leaders in the sector, speakers included Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, GiffGaff, WMG, You.Smart.Thing and FiveAI, to discuss how ACES technologies will radically change the way we travel.

There is a global call to both reduce emissions and also to ease congestion and increase the simplicity, safety and speed at which passengers are able to get from point A to B. There is no doubt that the future of transport will be ACES.

The UK has always been at the forefront of transport innovation and manufacturing, and needs to continue to bring manufacturers and governing bodies together to push forward the ACES transport agenda and ensure the UK remains competitive in a global market.

WMG, NatWest and Lombard will be releasing thought leadership pieces from expert industry leaders, sharing the challenges and opportunities for the UK transport sector.

Click here to read the Natwest article

For more information or to get involved please contact: wmgbusiness@warwick.ac.uk

Thu 04 Jul 2019, 10:06 | Tags: HVM Catapult NAIC Partnerships

£22m battery and thermal energy facilities launch at the University of Warwick, for a cleaner greener future

Two research centres for sustainable electrical and thermal energy technologies totalling £22m are launching at WMG, University of Warwick on the 10th June 2019. The funding from government via the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) sees UK Government, industry and higher education work together to shape the future of the UK’s energy landscape.

The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) is a £60m project funded by Innovate UK. ERA is working with UK government, industry and the higher education sector to undertake innovative research, develop the next generation of energy leaders, and demonstrate low carbon technologies that help shape the future of the UK’s energy landscape.

ERA consists of eight internationally renowned Midlands universities – which includes the University of Warwick, who are part of the Midlands Innovation partnership, together with the British Geological Survey.

Together they will explore the challenges of energy and electrification, with some of the thought leaders and innovators who are making changes in these areas. There will also be an opportunity to tour the new research facilities.

WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre is a world-class facility for battery research from materials and electrochemistry to application integration and recycling/reuse. The £20m ERA investment has enabled new equipment and facilities, which include laboratories, a dry room for cell assembly, characterisation at cell, module and pack levels, innovative charging infrastructure and second-life evaluation facilities. It will drive the development, and scale-up of new battery chemistries from concept through to proven traction batteries.

The School of Engineering’s Sustainable Thermal Energy Technologies group develops low carbon heating and cooling technologies. The £2m ERA funding has enabled the extension of the Thermal Properties Lab into five newly-refurbished test cells to accommodate additional equipment for analysing thermal properties of materials and the Thermal Technologies Lab has benefitted from new test equipment and control/data logging facilities.

Professor Pam Thomas, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Warwick, comments:

“The University of Warwick continues to produce innovative research in battery development and thermal energy, the funding means we can help research ways to tackle global challenges in areas such as energy and sustainability to help climate change for the UK’s and the world’s future.”

Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Energy Research Accelerator, commented:

“Over the coming years we are going to see a step change in the motor industry from the combustion engine to battery powered vehicles. With this investment from ERA and Innovate UK, the Midlands will continue to take the lead in the research, development and commercialisation of new battery technologies.

“Our investment in the thermal labs here at Warwick is also significant, as the new facilities will enable researchers to work together with other ERA universities to develop innovative and efficient low carbon heating and cooling technologies.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands comments:

“This world-leading research facility will further cement the West Midlands’ position at the cutting edge of innovation in technology and sustainability.

“The region is already at the forefront of the development of electric vehicle efficiency, and now the ERA’s funding will enable us to make better use of electrification to reduce emissions and improve transport, making a real difference to the lives of people living and working in the West Midlands.”

ENDS

10 JUNE 2019

NOTES TO EDITORS

This area of research is aligned with the Sustainability theme in our Research Strategy, which reflects our wider research into tackling global challenges in areas such as energy and sustainability climate change.

The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)

ERA is a key programme within Midlands Innovation – a consortium of research intensive universities (universities of Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick), and the British Geological Survey (BGS), which has the overall aim of harnessing the Midlands’ combined research excellence and industry expertise to play a critical role in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the UK.

Via Innovate UK, the government has committed an initial capital investment of £60m, and ERA has secured private sector co-investment of £120m. ERA’s initial priorities of Geo-Energy Systems, Integrated Energy Systems and Thermal Energy will help deliver the new technologies and behaviours that will open the avenues for its future development and demonstrate the transformative effect ERA can have across the energy spectrum.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

Mon 10 Jun 2019, 13:18 | Tags: Energy Systems Partnerships Transport Electrification

WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre

Degree Apprenticeship CentreWork is on track for our new WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre, at the University of Warwick, to equip young engineers with the high-level skills businesses need in the future.

The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre was awarded £10 million funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).

The steel frames for the Centre are now in place in the first phase of creating the complex, which is scheduled to open in September this year.

The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre, at the University of Warwick, will provide apprentices with the opportunity to study on degree programmes to develop the skills needed by advanced engineering and manufacturing companies.

The Centre will run training programmes up to Master’s Degree level initially for 1,000 students, who will complete their studies at the University campus in conjunction with their employment at companies throughout Coventry and Warwickshire.

The Centre will feature flexible teaching and lab space, and an environment for technology-enhanced learning as well as provide advice and support to apprentices and organisations.

The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre is the first stage of a future Degree Apprenticeship complex at the campus to train students in a range of Degree Apprenticeships.

Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the Midlands Engine and whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.

“The Government’s £10 million investment in the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre will give young people the cutting-edge engineering skills they need to secure high-value jobs and ensure advanced manufacturing companies have the qualified staff required to grow their business and competitiveness.This will help drive up the productivity of businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire and make a valuable contribution to delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy.”

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG, said: “The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre will provide the opportunity for apprentices to study whilst supporting our manufacturing base by learning the skills necessary for the UK to stay competitive.”

Jonathan Browning, chair of the CWLEP, said: “It is great to see the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre taking shape since this will be a valuable resource to train students with the skills which employers need to drive their businesses forward.

“The Local Growth Fund was established by the Government to give LEPs the opportunity to fund projects which will boost the economy, support businesses and create jobs.

“It is vital we equip apprentices with high-level skills and this centre will bring huge benefits to the advanced engineering and manufacturing sector in the area.”

 

Caption: From the left, Professor Steve Maggs (WMG, University of Warwick), Gemma Gathercole (CWLEP) and Marion Plant (CWLEP) at the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre

 

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

Local Growth Fund

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Some additional key facts:

  • There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England
  • The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic growth.
  • LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences.

 

Midlands Engine

Some Midlands Engine key facts:

  • The government is committed to making the Midlands an Engine for Growth in the UK, increasing economic growth and improving the quality of life for everyone. The Midlands is home to over 10 million people and over 780,000 businesses. Its economy is worth £217.7 billion.
  • So far the government has awarded £1.9 billion in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Midlands.

 

WMG, University of Warwick

WMG is a world leading research and education group and an academic department of the University of Warwick, established by Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 in order to reinvigorate UK manufacturing through the application of cutting edge research and effective knowledge transfer.

WMG has pioneered an international model for working with industry, commerce and public sectors and holds a unique position between academia and industry. The Group’s strength is to provide companies with the opportunity to gain a competitive edge by understanding a company’s strategy and working in partnership with them to create, through multidisciplinary research, ground-breaking products, processes and services.

Every year WMG provides education and training to schoolchildren through to senior executives. There is a growing part-time undergraduate programme for apprentices, as well as full-time undergraduates. The postgraduate programmes have over 2,000 students, in the UK and through centres in China, India, Thailand, South Africa and Malaysia.

 

 

 

 


WMG and GEFCO to revolutionise automotive battery supply chain

A new innovation hub is being launched at WMG in partnership with GEFCO today. The Hub will focus on cutting edge research into the future of automotive supply chains, the dual challenges of electrification and using and reusing resources for as long as possible.

The hub is closely linked to the EPSRC(Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Warwick.

The first two projects will research new circular business models for the supply, refurbishment and re-use of batteries for the electric automotive supply chain, and the use of new technologies to design fully-traceable and re-usable packaging.

A third project will examine the opportunities for logistics service providers to expand their business models to offer supply chain finance complimentary to out-sourcing of material and information flows.

Professor Jan GodsellProfessor Janet Godsell, from the Supply Chain Research Group, WMG, University of Warwick will head up the new hub, she comments: “Digital technology provides an opportunity to re-think the way in which we do business, and blurs the traditional distinction between manufacturing and logistics. A distinction further blurred as we seek to develop new business models that more holistically consider reuse, repair, remanufacture and recycling.”

Helen Grover, Human Resources Director at GEFCO UK comments:

“We are delighted to work with GEFCO to launch their Supply Chain Innovation Hub at WMG, University of Warwick. This £180k investment will support GEFCO to provide leading edge digital supply chain solutions that meet their customer needs in a cost effective and sustainable way.

“We are looking forward to working with WMG, University of Warwick because it allows us to be involved with cutting edge research and puts us at the forefront of the future of sustainable manufacture and logistics. The partnership sits perfectly with our company ethos of always seeking new innovative solutions to maintain our growth and to improve the way our industry works”.

ENDS

About GEFCO
At GEFCO, we believe long-lasting cooperation with partners is the key to shared growth. Building on 69 years of expertise and a strong heritage in the automotive industry, we design smart, flexible solutions for complex supply chains. Today, the GEFCO Group is the European leader in automotive logistics, and a top 10 global partner in multimodal supply chain solutions.

The Group is present in 47 countries, includes over 300 destinations in its current network and employs 13,000 people globally. GEFCO reported a turnover of €4.4 billion in 2017.

GEFCO has been present in the UK since 1981. With headquarters located in Coventry, GEFCO UK employs 600 people in 18 sites. https://uk.gefco.net/ 

Website: www.gefco.net; Twitter: @GEFCO_Group


MIA Motorsport Conference and Business Excellence Awards 2019

The WMG centre HVM Catapult team attended the esteemed MIA Energy Efficient Motorsport Conference, earlier this month.

The event showcases leading figures from motorsport, automotive and beyond to discuss current and future technology development, and explores the many opportunities for business growth and success.

AProfessor David Greenwoodt the conference, our Professor Dave Greenwood joined other experts for a lively panel discussion entitled 'What's in it for me? Electric Power in Motorsport and Automotive'.

In the evening, the MIA held its prestigious Business Excellence Awards. WMG sponsored the ‘Export Achievement Award,’ with AP Racing crowned much-deserved winners. The AP Racing team were presented with their award by the CEO of our WMG centre HVM Catapult, Archie MacPherson.

You can read more about MIA events here.


Construction in the UK revolutionised by £2.5m project to unite business and research

WMG is part of a new £2.5m project to bring together businesses and researchers to help overhaul construction practices in the UK.

The way buildings are constructed has changed relatively little in the last 40 years and has not seen the same increase in productivity or innovation as other industries. This project - called the Transforming Construction Network Plus (N+) - is one of the investments within the Transforming Construction Challenge (TCC), a programme supported by the UK government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The overall Transforming Construction Challenge looks to enable the sector to produce safe, healthy, efficient buildings using the latest digital manufacturing techniques. These will be more energy efficient structures, using modern materials and digital design methods to build better buildings for people in the UK. N+ will support the industry to adopt these technologies and help buildings to be constructed 50% faster, 33% cheaper and with half the lifetime carbon emissions.

The purpose of the Transforming Construction Network Plus is to create a new community of researchers and a body of knowledge to inform future construction policy and practice to achieve the TCC’s overarching goals. With £1m to invest in a raft of new research projects over the next two years, the Transforming Construction Network Plus (N+) will mobilise a new movement in the construction community.

N+ will issue two open calls for small research projects, funding up to 20 academic-led and user-inspired projects to generate new research findings. Academics from a range of disciplines will take part and work together with users, as project partners, to develop new ideas for transforming construction.

N+ focuses on supporting research that looks at construction as a production 'system' for built assets that adds value to cities and their infrastructures. Transforming design, construction and operation of buildings is a problem that demands input from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines, which is why major, coordinated investments are being made through the TCC.

The research supported through the N+ will focus on the gaps, inter-relationships and under-explored regions of this domain, spanning digital, energy, construction and manufacturing expertise, in line with the expectations of the Industrial Strategy Construction Sector Deal.

The N+ will address a future in which the UK designs, constructs and operates buildings by realising the potential for integrating advanced offsite manufacturing with state-of-the-art digital design and energy generation and storage technologies. By exploring and synthesising knowledge of how people and communities experience and interact with the built environment, N+ will foster new approaches to the provision of inspiring buildings that give rise to greater user satisfaction and productivity.

Professor Jan GodsellProfessor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy Janet Godsell comments: “Digital technology provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect the fragmented pockets of good practice that exist across construction supply chains, to transform construction.”

Professor Jacqueline Glass, UCL’s Principal Investigator for the N+, said: “With the N+, we have an extraordinary opportunity to tackle longstanding problems which have held back UK construction for decades. We are delighted to be collaborating with researchers from Imperial College London and WMG, University of Warwick to create an integrating agenda for a fragmented industry, by building a new movement of researchers and delivering an evidence-based manifesto for change.”

Jennifer Rubin, ESRC Executive Chair said: “This is innovative, inspiring work that has the potential to impact on the places we work and live in while positioning the UK as an industry leader on the international stage for construction technologies and businesses. ESRC is excited to be working on this project on behalf of UKRI.”

Notes to editors:

The full team are:

· Professor Jacqui Glass, N+ Principal Investigator and Chair of Construction Management, UCL Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management

· Co-Investigator - Professor Andrew Davies, The Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management, University College London

· Dr Martin Davies, Director of Business and Innovation Partnerships, UCL Innovation and Enterprise

· Professor Jan Godsell, N+ Co-Investigator and Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy, WMG, University of Warwick

· Professor Jennifer Whyte, N+ Co-Investigator and Laing O'Rourke/RAEng Chair in Systems Integration, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London

· Co-Investigator - Professor Paul Ruyssevelt, UCL Energy Institute, University College London

The Industrial Strategy sets out a long term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. It sets out how we are building a Britain fit for the future – how we will help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.

 


It’s a hat trick!

Three WMG Professors have now joined the The Alan Turing Institute as Fellows.

Carsten MapleOur Professor of Cyber Systems Engineering Carsten Maple, Professor of Data Science, Giovanni Montana, and Professor of Marketing and Giovanni MontanaService Systems Irene Ng; are now all part of the prestigious line-up of expert Fellows.

The Alan Turing Institute is a national body championing data science and artificial intelligence research. It was created by five founding universities - Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, UCL and the University of Warwick plus the EPSRC, with a further eight new universities – Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Queen Mary University of London, Birmingham, Exeter, Bristol, and Southampton – joining in 2018.


WMG project tackles data sharing issues in the healthcare sector

Researchers from the Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH) at WMG are working with healthcare software experts at Dovetail Lab on ‘General Practice of the Future.’

Using Blockchain Technology, our team of Assistant Professor George Despotou, Research Assistant Jill Evans, Professor Theo Arvanitis and PhD student Tim Robbins are developing a digital consent service for the exchange of patient data across electronic health records in an integrated care setting. High levels of encryption allow information to be shared securely with consent, and audit records stored on a “Blockchain” to ensure compliance with information governance rules.

Patients using this consent mechanism will be able to actively control how they share their data, and approve or refuse (case-by-case), from a mobile app.


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