WMG, at the University of Warwick, has received a share of £19 million from the Faraday Institution - the UK’s flagship institute for electrochemical energy storage research.
The funding has been allocated to four key battery research projects aimed at delivering an impact for the UK. These existing projects across three different research areas — next generation cathode materials, electrode manufacturing and sodium-ion batteries — have been reshaped to focus on the areas with the greatest potential for success.
WMG is taking a key role in two of the four, reshaped projects entitled FutureCAT and Nextrode.
WMG’s Professor of Battery Innovation, Louis Piper, will now co-lead FutureCAT, a battery cathode research project, focusing on understanding novel redox processes as a route to stabilise both high capacity, high performance, nickel rich and emerging cathodes and scalable designer morphologies. The project will build on its success in developing reliable, scalable routes to deliver a longer lifetime, high-energy/power cathodes, essential for electric vehicles.
Whereas in Nextrode, a battery electrode project, WMG is one of six university partners, led by the University of Oxford, alongside six industry partners. Researchers at WMG will investigate ways to make electrodes for Li-ion batteries unlocking the electrochemical potential.
Professor Pam Thomas, CEO, Faraday Institution, commented: “The Faraday Institution remains steadfast in its commitment to identify and invest in battery research initiatives that hold the greatest potential for making significant societal, environmental, and commercial contributions. This announcement signals the completion of our latest round of project refocusing, enabling us to allocate even more effort towards those areas of research that offer maximum potential in delivering transformative impact.”
James Gaade, Research Programme Director commented: “We are pleased that the reshaping process has bolstered the capabilities and expertise of researchers on the four projects. The realignment includes a focus around research into sustainable manufacturing methods and materials, and the need to further develop and scale up manufacture of promising materials discovered in the first three years of the projects.”
FutureCat, co-lead by WMG’s Professor Louis Piper, and the University of Sheffield’s Professor Serena Cussen is targeting step-changes in:
- Understanding novel redox processes as a route to stabilise both high capacity, high performance, nickel rich and emerging cathodes. The project continues its focus on doped and dual-doped lithium nickel oxides (LNO) (both polycrystalline and single crystals), including use of protective coatings. The team will also investigate the use of polyanionic cathodes, use modelling to inform the search for new candidate materials, and research designer electrolytes with the intention of stabilising the interphase layer.
- Scalable designer morphologies. The project will build on its success with doped-LNO in developing reliable, scalable routes to deliver a longer lifetime, high-energy/power cathodes through the use of gradient morphologies, co-doped cathodes (with the aim of delivering reversible discharge capacities exceeding 220 mAh/g), single crystal particles and thin coatings.
- Materials delivery: The scale up of the high nickel W-LNO material previously developed by FutureCat is being transferred to the Degradation project for testing in industry-relevant pouch cells. FutureCat will continue to investigate the manufacturing scale-up of other Ni-rich cathode materials, down-selecting promising active materials based on earth-abundant elements. Research includes the use of laser patterning to increase power densities, investigation of cracking as a failure mechanism to determine routes to resilient cathode manufacture, atomic layer deposition of coatings to improve electrode longevity, and optimisation of cycle life through the use of electrically conductive binders.
Nextrode is focused on researching, understanding and quantifying the potential of smart electrode manufacturing to reduce manufacturing costs and improve the performance of batteries. Benefits could be realised in both mature material systems already used commercially and in new emerging high performance battery systems. The project is developing new practical manufacturing innovations – including traditional slurry cast electrodes and novel low or no solvent electrodes – that could deliver the benefits of smart electrodes to the industrial scale and improve sustainability of processes.
The project is researching the underpinning manufacturing science that could alleviate constraints in electrode manufacturing through engineering particle design and improved understanding of the relationship between powder properties and deposition/calendering techniques. Nextrode is designing manufacturing process steps and using advanced in-line measurements to enable slurry casting to be brought under closed-loop control. Researchers are manufacturing new arrangements of anode and cathode materials, identifying conditions where benefits are maximised and developing cells that expand the energy-power-lifetime design space.
The new phase of research projects described will progress over the two years from 1 October 2023 to 30 September 2025.
Find out more about WMG’s Electrochemical Engineering research here: Electrochemical Materials (warwick.ac.uk)
For more information on the Faraday Institution, visit www.faraday.ac.ukLink opens in a new window
Bhattacharyya Award finalists “inspiring and diverse examples” of innovative and impactful partnerships between industry and universities
· Improved footballs for use in the World Cup and new technologies for defence against biological and chemical attack are examples of outcomes from six industry–academia partnerships shortlisted for this year’s annual Bhattacharyya Award
· Winning partnership will be announced at awards ceremony in Birmingham on 24 October 2023
The Royal Academy of Engineering has shortlisted six exceptional industry–academia partnerships from across the UK for this year’s Bhattacharyya Award.
The Bhattacharyya Award 2023 and a cash prize of £25,000 will be presented on 24 October 2023 to the team who best demonstrate how industry and universities can work together.
The Bhattacharyya Award is a tribute to Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya KT CBE FREng FRS, the Regius Professor of Manufacturing at the University of Warwick and founder of WMG who advocated for greater collaboration between industry and universities. Funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, the annual Bhattacharyya Award is open to UK universities and colleges that have demonstrated a sustained, strategic industrial partnership that has benefitted society and is deserving of national recognition. Industry–academia partnerships from any academic discipline are eligible for the Bhattacharyya Award.
This year’s shortlist illustrates the sheer diversity of challenges that can be successfully addressed through collaboration between universities and industry, including national defence against biological and chemical attack, the supply of drinking water, nuclear decommissioning, high-speed global communications, high-performance sportswear and equipment, as well as other challenges like decarbonisation that can be tackled through the power of process systems engineering.
The full shortlist of finalists is as follows:
University of Hertfordshire and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
New technologies for defence against biological and chemical threats
The collaboration between the University of Hertfordshire and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is focused on next generation devices and systems for monitoring and identifying biological and chemical threats. The collaboration aligns with the University of Hertfordshire’s objectives to stimulate enterprise and innovation, taking a pioneering approach to the transfer of knowledge from academic research to business and government. For Dstl, the collaboration has been central to its mission to explore, sustain, grow and evaluate state-of-the-art technological capabilities to develop protective measures against hazardous biological materials.
Imperial College London, UCL and the Sargent Centre Industrial Consortium
Unleashing the power of process systems engineering research
The Sargent Centre is the world’s largest multidisciplinary research centre in Process Systems Engineering, combining a deep understanding of chemical and biochemical processes with the ability to make fundamental advances across a wide range of systems and digital technologies for the benefit of society and industry. Bringing fundamental research advances to practice is deeply embedded in the Sargent Centre’s approach. For over 30 years, Sargent Centre researchers and process industry partners (e.g., ABB, BP, Eli Lilly and Company, Petronas, Pfizer, Procter and Gamble, Siemens, Shell, Syngenta) have collaborated to address challenges in manufacturing, decarbonisation, energy efficiency, optimisation, data science, multi-scale modelling, risk and uncertainty. This has resulted in successful spin-out creation and software licensing, with tools used across the pharmaceutical, agrochemical, consumer goods, food and energy sectors.
Loughborough University and adidas
Sports equipment and clothes for improved performance, safety and inclusivity
Since 2002, the Loughborough University and adidas cross-disciplinary teams have advanced engineering knowledge that has brought iconic products to market and been translated beyond the global sports sector for wider societal impact, making sport safer, more accessible and allowing people to perform at their best whilst developing the adidas talent pipeline.
The collaborative research has influenced all adidas major tournament footballs since 2004, and the analysis of short duration collisions in football has benefited other sports including new International Standards for cricket helmet performance that have eliminated facial injuries among professional helmeted batters. Another innovation is the first-ever sweat body maps of males, females and children to inform the company’s sector-leading clima® product range. This breakthrough underpins the first virtual Human Thermal Model which enables organisations worldwide to optimise product design for multiple populations across a range of industry sectors.
University of Sheffield and the UK water sector
Keeping drinking water crystal clear
Ageing infrastructure and the complexity of interacting physical, chemical and biological processes occurring within the vast hidden water distribution systems leads to discolouration, an indicator of water quality deterioration, and the number one service contact by consumers. Over the last two decades, by combining world-leading knowledge with a fundamental understanding of the processes and delivery of practical tools and techniques, the University of Sheffield has built the ‘Prediction and management Of Discolouration in Distribution Systems’ (PODDS) consortium across the UK water sector to address these challenges. This innovative partnership has helped the sector achieve improved levels of service without increasing costs, delivering more than 35% reduction in customer contacts regarding water discolouration and increased operational efficiency through better targeting of limited resources.
UCL Optical Networks Group and worldwide telecommunications industry
High-speed ultrawideband and low-delay optical communications networks for the cloud
Optical fibre communication networks underpin global communications, carrying over 95% of all digital data. The work of the Optical Networks Group has been key to the development of this critical high-capacity, low-delay, resilient and secure communications infrastructure. By deeply embedding their industrial collaborators within the group's research, the group has achieved society-wide impact, including a 100,000-fold increase in optical network data capacity, the doubling of transmission distances, and world record data rates, using its one-of-a-kind laboratories and expertise. Since the group was founded in 1994, it has become the centre of a web of over 60 leading international industrial laboratories and companies, across all telecommunications sectors: network operators and content providers (e.g., BT, Deutsche Telecom, Microsoft, KDDI), equipment and device manufacturers (Oclaro (now Lumentum), Nokia Bell Labs, Xtera, ADVA, Mitsubishi, Infinera) and optical fibre manufacturers (Corning, OFS).
University of Manchester and Nuclear Decommissioning sector
Providing expertise for quicker, safer nuclear decommissioning
The UK has been a nuclear nation for 75 years and has accumulated one of the largest. most complex nuclear legacies on Earth. Since 2002, Government has focused on cleaning up this legacy, a programme of work that will last over 100 years and cost over £140 billion. The Dalton Nuclear Institute coordinates the UK’s most comprehensive nuclear academic community, at The University of Manchester, to deliver skilled people, impactful research and support for Government policy development. The Institute’s research has, among other beneficial impacts, led to changes in effluent treatment at Sellafield and reduced discharges to the environment by 50-90%. The team have also developed robots for high hazard settings, including one of Time Magazine’s 200 best innovations for 2022; and improved the management of the UK’s separated plutonium stockpile. In a sector with a critical shortage of experts, the Institute also provides a vital pipeline of talent.
Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Chair of the judging panel for the Bhattacharyya Award, said: “The six finalists for this year’s Award are inspiring and diverse examples of successful collaboration between academia and industry—it’s terrific to be able to highlight and to celebrate their innovation and impact and I hope they will provide inspiration for others. We know that there are other great partnerships like these between universities and colleges and industries across the UK in all sectors but that we need many more if we are to fully reap the economic and societal benefit of our research investment and capability.”
The winner of the Bhattacharyya Award will be announced on the evening of 24 October 2023 at a ceremony at the Edgbaston Park Hotel in Birmingham that will showcase the shortlisted partnerships. Anyone wishing to attend should contact email@example.com for more details.
Notes for editors
- 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. 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.
- The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.
Media enquiries to: Pippa Cox at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. +44 207 766 0745; email: Pippa.Cox@raeng.org.uk
WMG and Wayve received substantial government funding to research and develop AI safety in self-driving vehicles
- WMG at the University of Warwick and leading self-driving technology developer Wayve have received £1.9 million in government funding to lead a research project on AI safety in self-driving vehicles
- This pioneering project, DriveSafeAI, aims to develop scalable methodologies and mechanisms to prove that the use of AI is safe for self-driving vehicles, which national and international self-driving vehicle developers can adapt the findings to their technology developments
- The project supports the UK government’s ambition to make the UK the leader in AI and its vision of deploying self-driving vehicles in 2025
WMG at the University of Warwick and leading self-driving vehicle technology developer Wayve have been awarded £1.9 million to undertake research to ensure the safe use of AI in self-driving vehicles.
This project, DriveSafeAI, is taking the initiative to research and develop scalable mechanisms and methodologies to prove that AI is safe to use in self-driving vehicles. WMG is a world-class research institution with internationally recognised research capabilities in safety assurance of self-driving technologies, combined with Wavye’s expertise in developing end-to-end machine learning for self-driving, a set of evidence- and data-based methods and tools will be developed and made available for global self-driving developers to test their technologies. The research result will help shape the UK's policy and regulatory framework for AI in the future.
Self-driving vehicles can potentially bring £42 billion in economic benefits to the UK. Proving the safety of AI is a crucial step to unlocking this huge market. However, currently, there is no internationally or nationally agreed methodology in place to prove AI is safe to use in self-driving technologies, which hinders the commercialisation of self-driving vehicles. Therefore, this project will create a solution for AI safety assurance and develop societal trust in AI and self-driving technology.
More information about the DriveSafeAI project and the funding
DriveSafeAI is part of CCAV’s Commercialising CAM Supply Chain Competition (CCAMSC).
The Commercialising CAM programme is funded by the Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles, a joint unit between the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and the Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK and Zenzic.
The £18.5m CCAMSC competition was launched in October 2022 to support the deployment of self-driving vehicles, by strengthening the capabilities of the sovereign UK CAM supply chain and is part of the Government’s vision for self-driving vehicles. Connected and automated mobility 2025: realising the benefits of self-driving vehicles.
Alex Kendall, CEO and Co-founder of Wayve, said: "At Wayve we know that confidence in our technology is crucial to commercialisation and widespread adoption of self-driving vehicles. Leveraging AI, we have the chance to bring the benefits of self-driving vehicles to everyone’s door. But first, securing trust in AI is paramount.
"That’s why we’ve been working closely with government and academia to ensure the methodologies we use to evidence safety are clear and trustworthy. Today, we’re excited to announce a formal partnership with WMG, University of Warwick, global leaders in the safety of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. DriveSafeAI will give the public and policymakers confidence in this technology, which has the potential to revolutionise transport."
Professor Siddartha Khastgir, Head of Verification & Validation at WMG, University of Warwick, said: "AI – and particularly embodied AI – like self-driving vehicles, is one of the biggest topics currently discussed in society. Deploying this technology safely is essential to realising the huge opportunity AI can offer society.”
“At WMG, through DriveSafeAI we are excited to be partnering with Wayve, a leader in self-driving vehicle technology, to help shape the safe AI landscape in the UK and globally.”
“We believe the safety of this technology needs to be proven collaboratively, in a scalable manner and that future policy should have strong research foundations."
Note to editors
Wayve is on a mission to reimagine autonomous mobility through embodied intelligence. Founded in 2017, Wayve is made up of a global team of experts in machine learning and robotics from top organisations around the world. We were the first to deploy autonomous vehicles on public roads with end-to-end deep learning, pioneering the AI software, lean hardware, and fleet learning platform for AV2.0: a next-generation autonomous driving system that can quickly and safely adapt to new driving domains anywhere in the world.
Wayve has raised over $258M and is backed by Eclipse Ventures, D1 Capital Partners, Baillie Gifford, Moore Strategic Ventures, Balderton Capital, Virgin, and Ocado Group. The team is based in London and California, with a fleet of vehicles testing in cities across the UK. Wayve aims to be the first to deploy autonomy in 100 cities. To learn more, visit www.wayve.ai.
WMG secures funding for two new knowledge transfer partnerships with SME manufacturers pushing the boundaries on process and management innovation
The SME Group at WMG, University of Warwick, has embarked on two major projects with Bellagio Stone and Radius Systems thanks to over £200k in funding from Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme.
A KTP is a three-way collaboration between a company, an academic institution (in this case WMG at the University of Warwick) and a graduate or postgraduate. KTPs are designed to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through shared knowledge, technology, and skills.
Bellagio Stone’s two-year project will create a new cultural management and leadership framework within the business following a recent merger, enabling it to push productivity and prepare for future expansion. Bellagio will transform its operations in the stonemasonry industry, capitalising on a range of long-term growth ambitions.
Radius Systems manufacturers of innovative plastic pipeline solutions will work on a two-year project with WMG to analyse, design and implement a process control system to reduce process variation in the continuous manufacture of water, gas and hydrogen infrastructure pipes.
Simon Broome, Innovation Manager at WMG who works with SMEs to secure KTP funding said: “We are delighted to announce these major new KTP projects. Both Bellagio Stone and Radius Systems have showed a fantastic appetite to grow their businesses and engage with the University to achieve their goals. We are excited about the potential ahead and are now in the process of recruiting the KTP Associates who will deliver the projects in the businesses.”
Mike Boyden, Operations Director at Bellagio Stone Ltd said: “We are really excited to have been awarded the funding to begin the KTP project in conjunction with WMG. We have worked on a number of really successful projects with WMG in the past and feel the KTP has great potential to help develop our business further. Having recently completed a business merger, this targeted approach of supporting specific hurdles we are facing, will help unite both businesses and really drive improvements in productivity, purchasing power and overall efficiencies. We are really grateful to all the team involved with supporting the application and look forward to getting started.”
Allen Clarke Technical Director at Radius Systems Ltd said: “We are delighted to be awarded the funding through Innovate UK and the opportunity to further work with WMG. We have many ideas and initiative to further enhance our manufacturing processes and drive or business to the next level. The scheme will give us great insight into our chosen technical subjects whilst enhancing our World class manufacturing and Industry 4.0 philosophy. Thank you to all involved with this venture and looking forward to getting started in Autumn 2023.”
Find out more about WMG’s SME programmes here: WMG SME Group | How can we help you? (warwick.ac.uk)
AirQKD addresses the cyber security of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) and specifically addresses components, manufacturing, software, and testing for last-mile Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) systems between shared parties for 5G and connected cars.
It is an Innovate UK funded collaboration between BT; Lexden Technologies; OLC; Duality, Bristol University; Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics; Strathclyde University; WMG; Bay Photonics; Heriot Watt University; Angoka; ArQit; Nu Quantum; National Physical Laboratory; CSA Catapult and Edinburgh University.
The trial combines BT’s expertise in building quantum-secure networks using QKD – an essentially un-hackable, cutting-edge technique for sharing encryption ‘keys’ between locations using a stream of single photons) with other new techniques for applying quantum security to mobile devices, developed by UK start-ups Nu Quantum, Angoka and Duality.
On the University of Warwick campus, as part of the Midlands Future Mobility testbed, WMG has created a Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) testing facility enabling AirQKD partners’ technology in key management, key consumption, and security protocols to be used for secure communications.
The AirQKD system implements Free Space Optics (FSO) cryptographic key generation and standards-compliant key management. WMG is now managing the workstream between telecommunications (4G/5G cellular at BT’s Adastral Park site) and V2I communications on the University of Warwick campus. In combination, these technologies will be used to deliver an ultra-secure link between connected 5G towers and mobile devices, as well as to connected cars.
Find out more about CAV research at WMG here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/research/cav/connectivity/
Read more about AirQKD here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/research/transformation/securecybersystems/projects
Widening participation work experience week connects under-represented aspiring engineers with industry giants
The University of Warwick's commitment to widening participation and fostering inclusivity took centre stage during a week-long programme aimed at inspiring 30 students from local schools to pursue careers in engineering. The initiative was organised by WMG at the University of Warwick and the University's Widening Participation Team which wanted to support under-represented students that might lack confidence or support when they consider a future in engineering.
Throughout the programme, participants gained valuable insights into various engineering pathways and learnt more about research and careers at WMG alongside partners like Tata Motors. WMG research and teaching staff mentored the students, providing them with a taste of what studying engineering involves through an engineering project.
Laboratory and workshop tours, facilitated by WMG apprentices and Tata Motors, gave participants firsthand exposure to the dynamic environment of an engineering workplace. The event culminated in a showcase where the students presented their projects, highlighting both their engineering skills and the knowledge they gained during the week.
The project was also supported by student ambassadors from across the University; Drishti, David, Ana, Brij, Sheerah, Diya, Michelle, Gabe and Chinmay, giving the young visitors to our campus an experience of what studying in Higher Education is like. The Widening Participation team also gave a session providing information, advice and guidance on how they might enter university study. Throughout the week, young people therefore had experiences and interactions all the way from undergraduate level through the University hierarchy to the Dean of WMG.
One participating student said: "Visiting the National Automotive Innovation Centre with Tata Motors has opened my eyes to what engineering is really like, and I would like to learn more about degree apprenticeships with the University of Warwick.”
Another said: "I would describe this programme to a friend as an unmissable and eventful opportunity which I would heavily recommend as it has boosted my skills and given me a greater insight into careers, apprenticeships and university as a whole which has inspired me to want to go to university.”
Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG said: “There is a clear pathway from this point to being professional engineers. There may be many routes – whether through an apprenticeship or through a taught degree programme – but the skills and experience needed for all those routes are the same: perseverance, determination, initiative, and curiosity. Having a product on display at this showcase also demonstrates plainly those qualities in the people who have made them.”
Dr Phil Jemmett, Widening Participation Coordinator at WMG said: "This work experience model has been in our minds since 2019 and this is the first time we've been able to run it at full scale. Students have been working with our engineers on group projects all week and have gone on a journey through engineering and rapidly prototyping equipment.
“Each challenge links to WMG research and to challenges in the real world that could help make our planet's future more sustainable. With the skills we have seen in these students this week I have no doubt that our STEM industry is in safe hands in the future. They have been amazing."
The University of Warwick's initiative reflects its dedication to providing equal opportunities in engineering education. By empowering less privileged local students and challenging misconceptions about the field, they are nurturing a diverse talent pool that will shape the future of engineering.
Find out more about WMG's Outreach programme here
Notes to editors
For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact:
Bron Mills, Bron.firstname.lastname@example.org, +447824 540 720
On Friday (16th June) Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG; and Professor David Greenwood, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Director of Industrial Engagement at WMG, were pleased to welcome guests from the Indian Forum of Parliamentarians.
The delegation was made up of representatives from across various political parties including Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Chair of the Forum of Parliamentarians; Ms. Vandana Chavan - National Congress Party; Shri Krishna Devarayalu Lavu - Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party; Shri Sujeet Kumar - Biju Janata Dal; Shri N K Premachandran - Revolutionary Socialist Party; and Shri Brijendra Singh - Bharatiya Janata Party.
The guests were particularly keen to hear more about WMG’s research and education programmes in electrification and mobility.
They were given a tour of the real-world demo site of the track system for the Coventry Very Light Rail flagship transport project, before Professor David Greenwood led a tour of the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) the home of WMG’s battery research.
Finally the group heard more about the Warwick Moto project, where engineering students have been tasked with designing, building and racing an electric superbike.
The parliamentarians also had the opportunity to meet with Indian PhD students and researchers, studying and working at WMG.
Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG, explained: “ It was a pleasure to welcome the group of Indian Parliamentarians. Our relationship with India is long standing, and one that we value very highly.
“One example of our commitment is the strength of our relationship with IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Kharagpur, whom in October 2022 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a further five years, having first started in 2006.
We are increasingly appreciating the breadth of opportunity India presents, both in the academic and industrial spaces. As India is our main focus internationally at present, we expect to see more visits and more projects over the coming months and years!”
WMG, at the University of Warwick, has announced a new two year research partnership focusing on sustainable high-performance sealing materials.
Researchers at WMG’s Link opens in a new windowInternational Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (IINM), led by Dr Chaoying Wan, will be working with experts at James Walker to develop the next generation of sealing compounds which will be compliant with future per- and poly- fluoroAlkyl substances (PFAS) regulations.
In February 2023, the European Chemicals Agency announced a proposal for the European Economic Area that will effectively lead to a ban on all PFAS materials, due to their persistence in the environment.
This research project will use high quantity techniques to develop and identify novel elastomer compounds that comply with proposed PFAS regulations, for use in critical industrial applications drawing on WMG’s expertise in elastomer and polymer technology.
Conventional high performance sealing compounds rely on PFAS, as these materials are resistant to extremes of temperature and aggressive chemicals. PFAS are essential to the semi-conductor, aerospace, petrochemical, defence and nuclear industries for example, and there are currently no suitable replacement materials available. Alternative sealing materials are urgently needed to substitute PFAS.
Dr Mike Eason, Technical and Quality Director at James Walker commented: "Industrial dependence on PFAS elastomers is a global issue with supply chain impact already seen. I am delighted that we will work with Dr Wan and her team to identify and develop materials which will help industry be compliant with the proposed regulations. This partnership will accelerate James Walker’s development of seal materials for critical industry. WMG has small scale, advanced, mixing capability, with knowhow regarding nanofillers and polymer science that will allow James Walker to rapidly design, manufacture and screen bench-scale test formulations.
“I believe the combination of James Walker’s history and expertise in critical industrial sealing together with WMG’s state of the art capabilities will enable rapid development and commercialisation of materials. James Walker is committed to developing solutions to the PFAS regulations faced by global industry."
Dr Chaoying WanLink opens in a new window, Reader of Functional Polymers and Nanocomposites at WMG, University of Warwick explains: "Collaborating with James Walker to develop alternatives for PFAS seals is an important and exciting opportunity. Our elastomer research facility is supported by High Value Manufacturing Catapult CentreLink opens in a new window (HVMC), equipped with the latest technology, including a rubber process analyser (RPA) with wide temperature range - it is the only one in the UK, and one of only a few in the world with the capability to simulate dynamic elastomer performance at very low temperature.
“This function is extremely useful to compare differences in formulation design for applications such as high pressure or low temperature sealing. I am very much looking forward to working with the James Walker team on the development of new material options for high performance sealing applications and advancing our knowledge of polymer formulation and performance."
Find out more about WMG’s Nanocomposites research here: Nanocomposites (warwick.ac.uk)
Battery technology research collaboration initiated between OXECO and WMG, the University of Warwick
- OXECO and WMG at the University of Warwick will conduct a 15-month research programme into lithium-ion battery coatings
- Research is expected to advance next generation active materials and coating foils used to create electrodes
- The partnership aims to improve lithium-ion battery performance, longevity, and manufacturing
OXECO, a spin-out of the University of Oxford, has partnered with WMG at the University of Warwick, for a 15-month collaboration on lithium-ion battery technology. The partnership aims to advance the lithium-ion battery industry by leveraging WMG’s research on battery cell development and optimisation, alongside OXECO’s unique technology platform.
The research programme aims to enhance the performance, longevity, and ease of manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries by focusing on the preparation of active materials and coating foils used to create electrodes.
The programme is expected to yield transformative results in the improvement of current lithium-ion batteries and be a significant step towards the development of more efficient, reliable, and sustainable energy storage solutions.
This partnership will further OXECO’s aim to leverage innovative surface chemistry to accelerate our net-zero future. Jon-Paul Griffiths, founder and Chief Technology Officer at OXECO, commented that: “This is a remarkable opportunity to help steer the progress of battery technology - a crucial industry for the realisation of a sustainable energy economy. WMG has exceptional proficiency and credibility in battery research, coupled with the ability to manufacture from bench to pilot scale.
"This marks the initial phase of our efforts towards the integration of ONTO™ chemistry into lithium-ion batteries, and we are also delving into other domains of our chemistry for diverse applications in batteries, such as separator membranes. Our team is dedicated to forging a path towards cutting-edge technological advancements that will shape the future of energy storage solutions.”
WMG has an international reputation for working successfully with industry, with a history of partnering with pioneering entities, including Lotus, Aston Martin, JLR, BAE Systems, IBM, and Plug and Play, as well as the latest technology innovators.
Dr Mark Copley, Chief Engineer in WMG's Electrochemical Materials and Manufacturing team, concluded: “We are excited to be partnering with OXECO. This collaboration will draw on the University’s extensive expertise in battery technologies and OXECO’s chemistry to improve battery performance and longevity and help the global transition to sustainable power solutions through innovative research and training.”
OXECO is a chemistry technology company that designs, develops, and manufactures thin coatings and materials for the transport and clean technology sectors. The company’s core innovative technology controls the way that surfaces behave using cutting-edge carbene chemistry. This technology was born in the University of Oxford’s Department of Chemistry and developed over more than two decades.
Researchers in the UK and Ukraine are teaming up to develop artificial intelligence (AI) that will help treat those wounded by shrapnel.
Scientists at WMG at the University of Warwick and the Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics (NURE) in Ukraine are developing AI software that will help medics understand which patients require immediate treatment, due to life-threatening wounds that might not be obvious with the naked eye. The state-of-the-art technology enables users to feed data from a CT scan to a computer programme, which will help medics make quick decisions on which of the injured require most immediate treatment.
The project is one of 33 being discussed at the House of Lords this evening, to mark the one-year anniversary of the Twinning initiative – an institution-to-institution collaboration model which allows universities around the world to support their Ukrainian counterparts in real, concrete ways. It is funded by a £5m grant from Research England, administered by Universities UK International (UUKi).
Professor Mark Williams, WMG at the University of Warwick, said: “A huge problem for medics dealing with many severely injured people at the same time is the rapid identification of life-threatening injuries so they can prioritise who needs emergency surgery soonest. This is why we’re developing software with the team in Kharkiv to help address this issue. As well as being useful in other emergency situations such as earthquakes, the research is also applicable to doctors in trauma wards – already stretched by pressures experienced by the NHS – who need to triage patients quickly.
“For WMG’s part of the project, we will be creating phantom models using 3D imaging – replicas of human anatomy and shrapnel wounds. These will act as ‘test objects’, which experts in computer science can use to calibrate their technology and AI programme.
“It is very exciting to be able to bring our expertise in Additive Manufacture at WMG to deliver a rapid solution to such an important humane need, allowing us to truly exploit the incredible advantages in speed of response and material complexity offered by this technology.”
Anastasiya Chupryna, coordinator of Radio Electronics-Warwick Allied Research and Development (REWARD) project at NURE said: “We would like to thank our partner Warwick University for supporting us in joint research activities. Within this project NURE and Warwick University will be able to solve extremely important problems. We believe that practical results of these projects will demonstrate significant impact and innovation solutions for society.”
WMG is considered the leading international role model for successful collaboration between academia and the public and private sectors by successive UK Governments. The WMG specific research is funded by a £179k grant from UUKi.
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