In the near term, accelerating the drive towards electric vehicles (EVs) requires the optimisation of lithium-ion battery technology. While there is still room for improvements to Li-ion, there are fundamental limits to the performance improvements that can be expected from its deployment. So, in the medium to long term, step changes in EV cost, range and safety will have to rely on the commercialisation of new battery chemistries such as all-solid-state batteries, sodium ion and lithium-sulfur.
Because of the current level of commercialisation of different technologies and the UK’s need to deliver improvements in EVs over a range of timescales, the Faraday Institution is pursuing a portfolio of projects. Five research areas focus on optimising current generation lithium-ion based batteries, where there are still considerable gains to be made, and where research breakthroughs could start to be realised in commercial batteries (delivering benefits to EV owners) within 3-4 years. Its three other projects are higher risk, higher reward projects, that could facilitate the longer-term commercialisation of next-generation battery technologies that still require considerable research in the areas of materials discovery and optimisation.
The Faraday Institution’s portfolio of large scale, mission-driven projects was selected after consultation with academic and industrial stakeholders across the country, with due consideration of the potential impact they could make to the UK. The institution’s four initial projects, launched in 2018 are as follows:
The following five further projects are being launched in the second half of 2019.
In addition, three smaller projects to develop battery-focused characterisation and analytical techniques are also beginning in the second half of 2019. These awards will provide UK battery researchers with world-leading tools to accelerate the development of their understanding of battery materials.
Click here for details of all projects funded through the Faraday Battery Challenge, including collaborative R&D projects funded through InnovateUK.