Enabling Next Generation Lithium Batteries

Project: Research council

Description

Energy storage is a great research challenge of our time: the rechargeable Li-ion battery (LiB) has transformed portable electronics; it is the technology of choice for electric and hybrid electric vehicles, and it has a key role to play in grid scale storage applications where it can facilitate more effective and greater use of renewable energy. However, today's consumer electronic Li-ion batteries cannot simply be scaled-up for electric vehicles or grid storage, and new generations of lithium-ion batteries are required that deliver enhanced combinations and improved balances of: cost (100/kWh), energy density (300 Wh/kg), power density (2000 W/kg), safety (especially fire resistance), calendar life (10 yrs) and lifetime (3000 cycles). In the past, efforts to address these challenges have often been based on individual researchers or groups focused on science OR engineering. Our vision is that success requires basic research to tackle these hurdles, but one that employs an integrated programme across a range of science and engineering uniting materials chemists, materials modelling across lengths from the nano-scale to the device-scale, manufacturing engineers, skills in in-situ characterization techniques, in communication with supply chain companies and end-users. Our research spans step-changes in LiBs as well as more radical ideas and technologies beyond LiBs, such as the lithium-air battery. We will - Identify new classes of anode materials to overcome the disadvantages of poor safety and low power inherent to the graphitic anodes currently used in almost all commercial LIBs. Develop 3D polymer/ceramic interpenetrating networks as protective membranes for lithium metal electrodes, transforming the energy density of the anode. - Develop novel polymer electrolytes and methods to process them, leading to the viable (and much safer) solid-state alternatives to flammable liquid electrolytes in lithium batteries. - Identify and reduce sources of resitance in solid electrolyte-electrode interfaces - Enable the use of higher voltage cathode materials via the use of solid-state electrolytes and coatings. - Address the major hurdles facing the realisation of the game changing lithium-air battery by investigating new redox mediating molecules to reduce charging voltages and electrocatalysts to increase discharge voltages. - Use innovative manufacturing methods to produce 3D and structured composite electrodes to achieve increased energy density, and higher rate performances and lifetime. - Integrate the new materials and electrode structures into lab scale battery devices thus demonstrating the potential of our advances - Engage with all stakeholders in lithium batteries in the UK and abroad - be an advocate for Li batteries, disseminate results. -Train a new cohort of people with experience of working in a team spanning a wide range of science and engineering skills
StatusActive
Effective start/end date21/10/1520/10/20

Funding

  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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Lithium batteries
Anodes
Electrodes
Lithium
Electrolytes
Electric potential
Fire resistance
Interpenetrating polymer networks
Consumer electronics
Electrocatalysts
Solid electrolytes
Hybrid vehicles
Polymers
Electric vehicles
Air
Energy storage
Supply chains
Cathodes
Electronic equipment
Membranes