The design of battery packs – the specific configuration of battery cells within a device or electric vehicle to deliver voltage, capacity, or power density – has been understudied but has a surprisingly large influence on the life and performance of devices powered by Li-ion battery powered – from portable computers to vacuum cleaners, hand tools to industrial robots, and garden tools to electric vehicles.
Poor pack design can affect heat management and can lead to a battery that has significantly poorer performance than the battery materials and cell design would otherwise suggest, resulting in the battery reaching the end of its life prematurely. Regular replacement of batteries, for example in power tools, also dramatically increases operating costs for consumers as well as increasing waste.
The Faraday Institution Multi-Scale Modelling project, led by Dr Gregory Offer of Imperial College London, provided insights and tools to enable a more optimal battery pack design process. Spin-out Cognition Energy Ltd was founded in October 2018 by Tom Cleaver, Greg Offer and two other academics from Imperial to serve the large market gap for batteries that have a pack design that has been adapted to individual product needs. Cognition Energy predicts that in some cases its approach will lead to product life multiple times longer than equivalents on the market today. Cognition received a £50k Faraday Institution Entrepreneurial Fellowship to help co-fund development of its first prototype.
A presentation given by Tom Cleaver, Entrepreneurial Fellow, at the Faraday Institution Conference in November 2020.
The company has achieved the following since founding:
The following achievements are predicted for the customer project:
Interest in the Cognition prototype is already being shown by other international companies. The company plans to start approaching further potential customers once the full initial prototype has completed testing. The prototype will be adapted to other customers’ needs as required.
In addition, Cognition is evaluating the possibility of commercialising its cell temperature control rig and may license out the novel electrical design if the patent is granted. The cell temperature rig could be used worldwide by battery researchers and developers. The electrical design would be useful for major pack manufacturers in all sectors.
The UK is already leading in battery system design. By taking a best practice engineering approach to pack design based on knowledge discovered in our research programme Cognition will accelerate the development of lower cost, more sustainable, better performing batteries.”
Ian Ellerington, Head of Technology Transfer – The Faraday Institution