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£715,000 Grant for Lithium Battery Research

The work seeks to develop new devices with the energy and power capacities of Li-ion and supercaps combined. Click to enlarge.

University of Bath (UK) researchers have received grants worth £715,000 (US$1.3 million) to develop new ceramic and nano-materials for advanced lithium-ion batteries targeted at applications in hybrid electric vehicles and in storage for renewable power generation.

The work is part of a growing green technology focus at the University, which is making it a major center of research into sustainable energy and cutting pollution. The University, with its other development partners, recently unveiled the CLEVER (Compact Low Emission Vehicle for Urban Transport) CNG concept vehicle. (Earlier post.)

The grants are part of the £2.1-million (US$3.9-million) Energy Storage Consortium element of the larger Supergen project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK for sustainable power generation and supply.

The four-year University of Bath-led project will focus on designing novel compounds that increase and combine the energy density of lithium-ion batteries and the power density of supercapacitors. The goal is to increase the total energy the batteries can store, and make batteries at least ten times better at producing sudden boosts in power.

New materials hold the key to cleaner and lighter lithium batteries for hybrid electric cars which will help kick the fossil fuel habit.

If we don’t develop an efficient way of storing energy from renewable sources like wind and solar power, then it will be the equivalent of a water company only supplying tap water when it’s raining.

—Professor Saiful Islam, research project leader

A possible candidate material. Layered structure of the LiNi0.5Mn0.5O2 battery material showing Ni/Mn and Li layers. Source: Univ. of Bath

Prof. Islam has been investigating new candidates as cathode systems including the layered-structured LiMO2 and olivine-type LiMPO4 (where M = Mn, Fe) bulk and nanostructured materials. This extends recent work on the LiMn2O4 spinel and mixed layered system Li(Ni,Mn)O2.

Work in the research project will involve further state-of-the-art computer modelling and structural studies of solid-state properties of novel metal oxides for lithium-ion batteries with potential transport applications.

The other partners in this Supergen project are the universities of St Andrews, Strathclyde and Surrey. The consortium will also have corporate partners: Johnson Matthey, AEA Batteries, and Mast Carbon.




I wonder why the professor continues to work on Lithium since it is a well plowed field? With alot more private money being invested in Li research then all the world governments' money ever.
If he could develop a battery for Phev with cheap materials(lead, aluminium?) with 10kWh storage for about $500us, then his name would be mentioned along side Sir Whittle as some of the great UK inventors.


the challenge of storing energy, especially green energy, is one that has been an area of interest for a while. so far, the most efficient energy storage method has been to pump water back up into a dam.

batteries are not even considered for this scale of storage because of how big the battery banks, heat sinks, etc would have to be. the cost would be prohibitive.

acpropulsion seems to think that a fleet of BEVs and a clever charging arrangement could solve the problem, though.

Adrian Akau

I agree with Professor Saiful Islam.

Cars are made one by one and battery storage can be made one unit at a time. PHEV's would save most of the oil in the world presently being burned by several hundred million vehicles. We are in need of batteries and ultracapacitors that provide high density energy storage; this is the main problem facing the cars of the future.

I believe this problem can be solved given funding and initiative. MIT has already made great strides in this area but there is much more to do and all help is appreciated.


Government grants to develop Li chemistry batteries is waist of money. Market for Li batteries is so hot, than any government spending (as any governmental spending ) are incomparable with private companies push.

Cedric Lynch

I think there is a good chance that the grant to Professor Saiful Islam could turn out to be money well spent. To make electric vehicles successful in the general market the battery must combine several features:
(1)availability at acceptably low cost
(2)at least 100 WH/Kg
(3)ability to stand long periods in any state of charge
without deterioration
(4)availability of at least 1C current at any ambient
temperature, down to 80% DOD
(5)reliable long life, not conditional on specialised
maintenance, so it does not have to be replaced
every few years (or, worse, few months)
(6)not wasting energy, for example by needing to be
artificially heated when not in intensive use

There are batteries available that meet most of these
requirements, and each of the requirements is met by at least one type of battery, but so far there is no single battery that meets all of them. Keep researching!

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