£19 Million Committed to Battery Research – Faraday Institution News Release
HARWELL, UK (5 September 2023) The Faraday Institution, the UK’s flagship institute for electrochemical energy storage research, announces a £19 million investment in four key battery research projects aimed at delivering beneficial impact for the UK. These existing projects in three 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.
Two Faraday Institution projects seek to improve battery performance and cost via the discovery and characterisation of next generation lithium-ion cathode chemistries to deepen understanding of the underpinning mechanisms and mechanics. FutureCat has a focus on high-capacity, high-performance nickel-rich oxide cathodes targeting premium electric vehicle applications and delivering these at scale. CATMAT is focusing on high energy density lithium-rich cathodes and reducing reliance on supply-chain at-risk elements (including cobalt and nickel), while delivering performance that exceeds lithium iron phosphate.
FutureCat 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 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.
Professor Serena Cussen, University of Sheffield, and Professor Louis Piper, WMG, University of Warwick, co-lead this project, which also comprises research teams at the universities of Cambridge, Birmingham, Imperial College London, Lancaster, and newly joined by Nottingham and Diamond Light Source.