Department of Engineering Science part of £42 million programme to revolutionise UK car battery research

A team of the UK’s leading battery experts from universities across the UK, including Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science, will contribute to work funded by the independent national battery research facility, the Faraday Institution.

The investment comes at a key time in electric vehicle (EV) development and aims to revolutionise UK battery research and address challenges faced by the industry, by optimising battery life (and therefore the range of electric vehicles), reducing battery costs and enhancing safety. With estimates of 140 million EVs on the world’s roads by 2030, improved battery performance and more efficient manufacturing will be vital.

Announced at the recent Royal Society conference on energy storage for automotive and grids, the research will encompass four initial projects, focused on solid-state batteries, battery modelling, degradation, and recycling.

Scientists and engineers from the Department of Engineering Science’s Energy and Power Group, and the University’s Mathematical Institute and Department of Materials, will collaborate with other UK universities on the modelling and solid-state battery projects.

Professor Charles Monroe
Professor Charles Monroe

The modelling project, led by Imperial College London, will examine how to simulate battery degradation and low temperature performance, and how to bridge from molecular to continuum models, and cell to system models. Led by Oxford (and including the Department’s Professor Charles Monroe), the project on solid state batteries will focus on addressing energy density, safety and cost issues to demonstrate a feasible device with performance superior to current technology.

Academic partners in these two projects include the Universities of Newcastle, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Southampton, Warwick, Lancaster, Bath, Cambridge, Liverpool, St. Andrews, Imperial College London and University College London.

Professor David Howey
Professor David Howey

Professor David Howey, Associate Professor in Engineering Science, said: ‘We are delighted to have this opportunity to significantly improve the performance of batteries and extend their lifetime. The collaborative interdisciplinary nature of this project is key to its success.’

Professor Howey’s team designs systems and develops diagnostics and control algorithms for batteries, improving both commercial viability and the impact on society and the environment.

 

The research builds upon Oxford’s already world-leading battery R&D, which includes materials, manufacturing, modelling and control. The Faraday Institution projects could help to speed up the pace at which the UK is able to make the move to EV, as well as how quickly we are able to decarbonise and improve the environmental viability of our energy supply.

Peter B. Littlewood, founding executive chair of the Faraday Institution, said: “To deliver the much needed improvement in air quality in our cities and achieve our aspiration for cleaner energy targets we need to shift to electric vehicles quickly. These research programmes will help the UK achieve this.” He went on to say “Through steady investment in basic research on specific societal challenges identified by industry and government, the UK will become a world-leading powerhouse in energy storage”.

Work will begin on this landmark initiative on 1 March 2018 and run until 21 February 2021.

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Published on: 24 January 2017