|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.