Image credit: Shutterstock
Image credit: Shutterstock

Oxford to have key role in multi-million pound energy storage research

Oxford University is to be a key player in an extensive new activity supporting the development of next-generation batteries.

A team of the UK’s leading battery experts from universities across the UK will contribute to the work which will be enabled by £42 million funding provided by the independent national battery research facility, the Faraday Institution.

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

Professor Peter Bruce, FRS, FRSE, Wolfson Professor of Materials in Oxford’s Department of Materials, will lead the work on developing solid-state metal-anode batteries while scientists from both Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science and Mathematical Institute will work closely with Imperial College London on investigations into the multi-scale modelling of batteries.

Professor Bruce, commented: 'Solid state batteries are a potential game changer for energy density and therefore range and cost of electric vehicles, but there are significant scientific challenges to overcome to ensure they deliver – this project will address those issues.'

Intended to revolutionise the field of UK battery research, the mission driven, interdisciplinary nature of the projects will be key to their overall effectiveness, and allow them to address the growing challenges faced by the automotive industry. The research builds upon Oxford’s already internationally leading battery activities that encompasses materials, manufacturing, modelling and control. These projects could also speed up the pace at which we are able to make the move to electric vehicles (EV), as well as how quickly we are able decarbonise and improve the environmental viability of our energy supply.

Professor David Howey, Associate Professor in Oxford’s Department of 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 Colin Please, Professor in Oxford’s Mathematical Institute, added: ‘Developing and efficiently solving the mathematical models necessary to describe behaviour of batteries over vast time and space scales creates exciting new challenges and opportunities.’

Work will begin on this landmark initiative on 1 March 2018 and run until 21 February 2021. Other academic partners involved in the research are Imperial College London, Lancaster University, UCL, University of Bath, University of Cambridge, University of Glasgow, University of Liverpool, University of Southampton, University of Strathclyde, University of St. Andrews, and University of Warwick.