News Release

WMG awarded funding for key battery research

WMG, at the University of Warwick, has been awarded a share of £29 million funding, from the Faraday Institution, to develop new insights into electrochemical energy storage

Grant and Award Announcement

University of Warwick

WMG, at the University of Warwick, has been awarded a share of £29 million funding, from the Faraday Institution, to develop new insights into electrochemical energy storage.

The three WMG research projects are entitled Extending Battery Life; Battery Modelling; and Battery Safety - crucial research areas as the UK powers ahead with transport electrification.

The Faraday Institution, a leader in energy storage research, has announced investment in a total of six key battery research projects aimed at delivering commercial impact. These existing projects on extending battery life, battery modelling, recycling and reuse, safety, solid-state batteries, and lithium-sulfur batteries, have been reshaped to focus on the areas with the greatest potential for success.

Professor Pam Thomas, CEO, Faraday Institution, commented: “The Faraday Institution is committed to identifying and investing in the most promising and impactful battery research initiatives. This project refocusing is an important part of that process, and allows us to direct even more effort towards those areas of research that offer the maximum potential of delivering societal, environmental, and commercial impact.”

Business and Trade Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Growing the battery industry is vital to positioning the UK as the best location in the world to manufacture electric vehicles.

“This funding will help businesses become more innovative and productive, helping to create more skilled, high-wage jobs across the UK, future-proofing our economy and supporting our ambition towards a cleaner, greener future.”

The funding for these projects came from the Faraday Battery Challenge, delivered by Innovate UK for UK Research and Innovation.

WMG project details

Extending Battery Life

The Faraday Institution’s Degradation project, a centre of excellence in understanding degradation mechanisms in lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide NMC811-graphite batteries, is expanding to investigate other systems of industrial interest. Researchers will apply their knowledge and new characterisation techniques to investigate the degradation of systems comprising silicon-rich composites and those using anode-free architectures. On the cathode side, the project will investigate the higher nickel content NMC, lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP), and tungsten-doped lithium nickel oxide (LNO). Tungsten-doped LNO is a promising material with high capacity that was developed by the Faraday Institution’s FutureCat project. Researchers will also investigate new electrolyte formulations compatible with the anode and cathodes under study and their impact on degradation.

The project will also include new pouch cell fabrication activity at WMG, which will allow researchers from across the project to access reproducible and reliable cells to perform degradation studies at more industrial-relevant scales. Pouch cells to be fabricated will include tungsten-doped LNO cathode developed at the University of Sheffield.

The project is led by Co-Principal Investigators Professor Dame Clare Grey, University of Cambridge, and Professor Louis Piper of WMG. The team also includes researchers from the universities of Birmingham, Newcastle, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton, Imperial College London and UCL.

Battery Modelling

The Multi-scale Modelling project has been refocused to further develop parameterisation methods and techniques for next-generation models and modelling of batteries beyond lithium-ion. Researchers will focus on methods to determine accurate input parameters for models that define ageing and that accurately represent what happens at battery interfaces, which could support the growth of the Battery Parameterisation eXchange (BPX) standard being formed by the Faraday Institution.

Additionally, the project aims to grow the capabilities of PyBaMM, an open-source physics-based model, to enable better health and performance prediction at cell and pack level, linking to commercial software, and growing the PyBaMM community. The project will also develop ‘PRISM’, an industry-focused equivalent circuit model framework integrated with and complementary to PyBaMM, which will incorporate machine learning approaches.

The project is led by Prof Gregory Offer, Imperial College London, with additional researchers from the universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton and Warwick.

Battery Safety (SafeBatt)

SafeBatt is investigating the science behind cell and battery failure using advanced instrumentation, imaging and high-speed techniques to characterise failure modes and investigate the interplay between cell ageing, degradation and safety. Cell-to-cell failure propagation is being studied and detection methods and mitigation strategies to prevent thermal runaway and propagation are being developed and demonstrated. A model that can predict thermal runaway and simulates the external flow of gas, heat and ejecta during failure will be developed, informing the design of safer battery systems.

The project will also conduct tests in larger format cells and at module level to help industry and other stakeholders understand how EV and micro-mobility battery packs and static energy storage systems fail in real-world scenarios. This builds on previous research that identified a potentially explosive vapour cloud, observed under certain conditions of lithium-ion cell failure. This research will continue to inform the project’s international dissemination activities (where SafeBatt researchers are playing a leadership role globally) and provide a central point of access for industry, government bodies and fire services seeking knowledge and engagement on lithium-ion battery safety related issues.

Led by Prof Paul Shearing of UCL, SafeBatt also includes researchers from the universities of Cambridge, King’s College London, Newcastle, Sheffield and Warwick.

Research in these areas will progress over the next two years to 31 March 2025.

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