Leicester scientists help to drive technological revolution in developing electric vehicles

Posted by pt91 at Jan 24, 2018 09:50 AM |
University of Leicester team address battery challenges that will ultimately increase the impact of batteries in improving air quality and decarbonisation

Issued by University of Leicester on 24 January 2018

  • The Faraday Institution Announces £42 Million for Energy Storage Research nationally
  • Four projects –including one involving Leicester -awarded to ignite a revolution in UK battery research, and address battery challenges faced by industry.
  • University is part of consortium of industry and universities that will determine the ways in which spent lithium batteries can be recycled

The Faraday Institution has announced up to £42 million in new government funding to four UK-based consortia – including one involving the University of Leicester - to conduct application-inspired research aimed at overcoming battery challenges to accelerate the electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

If successful, this research will put the UK on the map as being at the forefront of battery technology worldwide. It has the potential to radically increase the speed with which we are able to make the move to electric vehicles, as well as the speed with which we can decarbonize our energy supply, with obvious benefits to the environment.

Leicester is part of a project led by the University of Birmingham, and including seven other academic institutions and 14 industrial partners, that will determine the ways in which spent lithium batteries can be recycled. With the aim to recycle 100% of the battery, the project will look at how to reuse the batteries and their materials, to make better use of global resources, and ultimately increase the impact of batteries in improving air quality and decarbonisation. With Birmingham, university partners include the University of Leicester, Newcastle University, Cardiff University, University of Liverpool, Oxford Brookes University, University of Edinburgh, and the Science and Facilities Technology Council.

Professor Karl Ryder and Professor Andy Abbott, from the Department of Chemistry at Leicester, have received Faraday Institution funding in relation to the recycling and reuse of battery chemistries.  This aligns well with the strategic developments in the Energy Research Accelerator.

The project entitled “Recycling of Li-Ion Batteries ReLIB” is led and coordinated by the University of Birmingham and is valued at a total of £9.44 M.  The University of Leicester will receive £801 K and will equate to the activities of two post-doctoral researchers.

The researchers state: “The overarching aim of the ReLIB project is to facilitate a circular economy in lithium ion batteries by:

• tackling the most demanding technical challenges in sensing, gateway testing, sorting, re-use, recycling and characterisation;

• judging the potential of processes developed through Life Cycle Analysis and Techno-Economic Assessment;

•developing new business models and regulatory frameworks in conjunction with the value chain to promote the collection of automotive batteries from a range of sources.”

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent national battery research institute, and was established as part of the government’s £246 million investment in battery technology through the Industrial Strategy. Its formation was announced in October 2017 by the Business Secretary Greg Clark.

The Faraday Institution’s goal is to make the UK the go-to place and world leader for battery technology research and it has a clear mission to ensure the UK is well placed to take advantage of the future economic opportunities from this emerging technology.

Business Minister Richard Harrington said, “With 200,000 electric vehicles set to be on UK roads by the end of 2018 and worldwide sales growing by 45 per cent in 2016, investment in car batteries is a massive opportunity for Britain and one that is estimated to be worth £5 billion by 2025.

“Through our flagship Industrial Strategy and its Future of Mobility and Clean Growth Grand Challenges, we are committed to making Britain the ‘go-to’ destination for the development and deployment of this game-changing technology.

“Government investment, through the Faraday Institution, in the projects announced today will deliver valuable research that will help us seize the economic opportunities presented by battery technology and our transition to a low-carbon economy.”

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. To be impactful on increasing energy density, lowering cost, extending lifetime, and improving battery safety requires a substantial and focused effort in fundamental research.” He went on to say that “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.”

Full press release here: http://www.faraday.ac.uk/the-faraday-institution-announces-42-million-for-energy-storage-research/

For more information on The Faraday Institution, visit faraday.ac.uk

Notes to editors

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent, national institute for electrochemical energy storage science and technology, supporting research, training, and analysis. Bringing together expertise from universities and industry, The Faraday Institution endeavours to make the UK the go-to place for the research of the development, manufacture and production of new electrical storage technologies for both the automotive and the wider relevant sectors.

The first phase of the Faraday Institution is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). Headquartered at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, the Faraday Institution is registered charity with an independent board of trustees.

To learn more, visit faraday.ac.uk and follow @FaradayInst on Twitter.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) builds on the UK's world-class research base and delivers the science that business needs to transform existing industries and create new ones. It accelerates commercial exploitation of the most exciting technologies the UK has to offer the world to ensure that scientific investment truly delivers economic impact, jobs and growth right across the country. The ISCF is delivered by InnovateUK and Research Councils UK (RCUK), and eventually UK Research and Innovation, the single voice for the UK's research and innovation landscape.

The 'Faraday Battery Challenge' is to develop and manufacture batteries for the electrification of vehicles - £246 million over four years - to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the move to a low carbon economy. The challenge will be split into three elements: research, innovation, and scale-up. It is among the first of six investment areas announced by the government to be funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate.

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture.

We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. www.epsrc.ac.uk

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is keeping the UK at the forefront of international science and tackling some of the most significant challenges facing society such as meeting our future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and global security. The Council has a broad science portfolio and works with the academic and industrial communities to share its expertise in materials science, space and ground-based astronomy technologies, laser science, microelectronics, wafer scale manufacturing, particle and nuclear physics, alternative energy production, radio communications and radar.

STFC operates or hosts world class experimental facilities including in the UK the ISIS pulsed neutron source, the Central Laser Facility, and LOFAR, and is also the majority shareholder in Diamond Light Source Ltd.

STFC enables UK researchers to access leading international science facilities by funding membership of international bodies including European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). STFC is one of seven publicly-funded research councils. It is an independent, non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). http://www.stfc.ac.uk/

Midlands Innovation 
Midlands Innovation is a world-class research and innovation partnership, combining the collective excellence of eight leading universities in the heart of the UK – Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. It unites the power of university research with the unique strengths of Midlands industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development.

The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)
ERA is a key programme within Midlands Innovation – a consortium of research intensive universities (universities of Aston, Birmingham, 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.

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