Nearly £1 million of funding has been awarded by the UK Technology Strategy Board to a consortium led by advanced battery manufacturer Axeon. The partners, who will match the funding, will develop new battery chemistries that will deliver high energy densities, thus making them ideal for use in plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs).
The £2 million project aims to accelerate the introduction of next-generation batteries that will offer higher energy density combined with lower cost. It will take advanced battery chemistry out of the research laboratory and into a real-world prototype PHEV application and help to consolidate the UK’s position as a strategic centre for battery development.
Other members of the consortium include the University of St Andrews, a centre of excellence for energy materials, Nexeon Limited, a UK battery materials company developing silicon anodes for the next generation of Li-ion batteries, and Ricardo, a leading provider of technology and engineering solutions to the automotive and transport industries. Successful delivery of this project will thus further consolidate the UK’s position and future as a leading innovator and provider of advanced vehicle battery technology.
Over the next two years St Andrews University will conduct research on potential new electrode materials. Nexeon will implement appropriate chemical engineering to scale-up material synthesis and optimize electrode fabrication resulting in prototype Li-ion cells based on its proprietary silicon anode technology. The cells produced will be used by Axeon to construct a usable, PHEV-type battery, with cells engineered into a housing with electrical interconnects and harnessing. Ricardo will perform extensive testing of the battery module integrated into a demonstrator vehicle platform.
The project will therefore accelerate the knowledge transfer from university-based fundamental research to optimized synthesis and scale up for cell production for use in a demonstrator PHEV battery pack.
Lawrence Berns, CEO of Axeon, noted: “As a leading provider of innovative EV battery technology Axeon is delighted to be leading this consortium. This project will give us access to exciting new chemistries that will enable us to deliver improved PHEV battery solutions for our customers.”
Professor Peter Bruce, St Andrews University, said: “New generations of lithium batteries are essential if we are to extend the range of electric vehicles and reduce CO2 emissions. We are delighted to collaborate with our industrial partners in addressing this key challenge”
Dr Scott Brown, CEO of Nexeon, stated: “This Technology Strategy Board supported project provides an ideal opportunity in collaboration with our consortium members to demonstrate Nexeon’s unique silicon battery anode technology in an automotive application and to accelerate progress toward new and improved PHEV batteries”.
Roger Thornton, Global Hybrid Product Group Director, Ricardo plc commented: "The development of cost-effective high energy density battery systems will be a crucial enabler for the future commercial realisation of PHEV products. Ricardo is pleased to be able to bring its battery systems development and vehicle integration skills to this important research and demonstration programme."
John Laughlin, the Technology Strategy Board’s programme manager for low carbon vehicles, added: “Our support for this project is part of our ongoing major investment programme aimed at putting the UK at the forefront of low carbon vehicle technology. The research we are funding will strengthen the UK’s automotive industry, while speeding up the reduction of carbon emissions and helping to meet UK and EU climate change targets. We are delighted to support this exciting project, which brings together some of the UK’s world-class expertise in vehicle battery development, and look forward to following its progress.”
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A copy of the joint press release issued by Axeon on behalf of the consortium may be downloaded in full from the documents download link to the right of this page.