Solid-state lithium car battery project launched in the UK

Seven UK organisations have signed an agreement to develop a prototype solid-state battery for the automotive industry.

Solid-state batteries offer significant potential advantages over conventional lithium-ion batteries and could be transformational in meeting the UK’s net zero commitments through the electrification of transport.

The successful outcome of the collaboration would be to harness and industrialise UK academic capability to produce cells using highly scalable manufacturing techniques that leapfrog the cost-effectiveness and performance achieved elsewhere.

Oxford University will lead Faraday Institution’s solid-state battery project (SOLBAT)
Oxford University will lead Faraday Institution’s solid-state battery project (SOLBAT)

The consortium comprises the following world-leading organisations in battery research, development and manufacturing:

  • Faraday Institution – the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, which has led the consortium’s formation and will lead its development.
  • Oxford University – that leads the Faraday Institution’s solid-state battery project (SOLBAT) and provides the necessary scientific understanding to the consortium.
  • Britishvolt – the UK-based Gigaplant developer, with a site in NE England.
  • E+R (Emerson & Renwick) – a world leading designer of manufacturing equipment.
  • Johnson Matthey – a global leader in sustainable technologies and the UK’s leading battery materials business.
  • UK Battery Industrialisation Centre – the pioneering battery manufacturing development facility to enable UK battery manufacturing scale-up and facilitate upskilling in the battery sector.
  • WMG, University of Warwick – leaders in battery R&D and initial scale-up capability, as well as academic and apprenticeship skills development.

The preliminary design for a prototyping facility has been developed. Sources of funding are currently being sought.

Peter Bruce, principal investigator of SOLBAT, comments: ‘It’s fantastic to see the culmination of combined UK academic strength in solid-state battery research come to fruition. I’m proud that the work of the Faraday Institution SOLBAT project, led by Oxford University, will make a significant contribution to the UK’s green energy revolution.’

‘I am delighted to be able to announce the formation of this unique consortium for the advancement of solid-state battery prototyping that includes leading UK-based organisations at many stages in the value chain,” said Professor Pam Thomas, CEO of Faraday Institution. “Our leadership in this venture signals a move towards a role that the Faraday Institution will increasingly play as a trusted convener of significant partnerships between UK industry and academia as a route to commercialise breakthrough science emerging from our research programmes to maximise UK economic value.’

Solid-state batteries (SSBs) offer significant potential advantages over existing lithium-ion battery technologies, including the ability to hold more charge for a given volume (leading to increased electric vehicle (EV) range) and reduced costs of safety-management. Early deployment of SSBs is likely to be in consumer electronics, niche automotive applications and unmanned aerospace, before being used in broader EV markets. The Faraday Institution forecasts that, in 2030, SSBs are likely to take a 7% share of the global consumer electronics battery market and a 4% share of the EV battery market . Global SSB revenues from sales to EV manufacturers are expected to reach $8 billion by 2030  and then grow rapidly to 2040 and 2050 when the market is expected to become extensive.

However, there are fundamental scientific challenges that need to be addressed before high power SSBs with commercially relevant performance can be realised. The Faraday Institution’s SOLBAT project has made considerable progress in addressing these challenges over the last three years.

The construction of the one-of-a-kind facility being developed by the collaboration will enable SSB technology to emerge from UK university laboratories. It will allow larger cells to be produced using scalable manufacturing techniques that will be improved iteratively through deep investigation of the causes of problems that emerge during manufacture and testing of prototype batteries. This will leverage the collective knowledge of Faraday Institution SSB researchers and the industrial partners.

Company

UKBIC [**]

Related Articles

JCB develops its first electric digger  

JCB has developed its first ever electric digger in response to customer demands for a zero emissions machine which can work indoors, underground and close to people in urban areas.
3 years ago News
Most recent Articles

Trusted measurement for automotive machine shop

With an ethos of being ‘run for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts’, East Sussex-based Hack Engineering has strengthened its precision measurement accuracy by investing in a large selection of Moore & Wright tools from the Bowers Group.
11 hours ago Features

Login / Sign up