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Bristol project to re-energise battery industry receives investment from energy storage reader

30 March 2023

Research to improve battery performance has received backing from the Faraday Institution, a leader in energy storage.

A team of scientists, including Dr Alistair Hales from Bristol’s Department of Mechanical Engineering  are developing battery models that can be used to predict how a battery will behave in operation, allowing battery pack manufacturers to provide better control for their battery throughout its life.

The overarching aim of the project is to reduce the computational demands of the battery model, without compromising on its performance.

Dr Hales explained: “We will be developing experimental methods that provide all the information required for the battery model, regardless of the operational circumstance.

“In essence, we reduce the complexity of the model to allow it to run faster by increasing the complexity of our experiments and our data processing, before the model is run.

“A computationally efficient model will run faster, speeding up product development.

“A key area of concern in the battery industry is battery temperature – a cold battery will perform poorly and degrade quickly, whilst a hot battery is unsafe.

“Our battery models will focus particularly on the distribution of temperature within the battery, to provide more accurate information about its thermal state. The result will be better, longer lasting, and safer batteries.”

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

The Faraday Institution has announced a £29 million investment in 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.

With over 500 researchers from 27 universities and 85+ industry partners, the Faraday Institution continues to drive innovation in energy storage technologies that will transform the UK energy landscape from transportation to the grid.

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.”

Professor Pam Thomas, CEO, Faraday Institution, said: “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.”

Further information

About the Faraday Institution

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, skills development, market analysis, and early-stage commercialisation. Bringing together expertise from universities and industry, the Faraday Institution endeavours to make the UK the go-to place for the research and development of new electrical storage technologies for both the automotive and wider relevant sectors. Headquartered at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, the Faraday Institution is a registered charity with an independent board of trustees, and a delivery partner for the Faraday Battery Challenge.


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