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UK Technology Strategy Board Awards More Than £12M to 22 Projects to Speed Up Development of Low-Carbon Technology for Vehicles; Includes Gas Turbine Range Extender and Li-S Battery Cells

The UK government-backed Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will invest more than £12 million (US$19.4 million) in 22 studies and projects to develop new technology that will speed up the reduction of CO2 emissions from road vehicles. The investment will be made in sixteen proof of concept studies, which will last up to one year, and six longer-running full research and development projects.

The total value of the research will be in the region of £25 million ($US$40.3 million), with the remaining funding provided by the UK organizations taking part in the work.

This investment is part of our ongoing strategy to put the UK at the forefront of low carbon vehicle technology. We are funding innovative projects in a number of key areas which include internal combustion engine technologies, energy storage and management, lightweight structures and new propulsion technologies. The work will help to accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions and deliver mass-market low carbon road vehicles within 5 to 15 years. In addition to helping to meet UK and EU climate change targets, we anticipate this research and development work will create significant market opportunities for UK-based companies.

—John Laughlin, the Technology Strategy Board’s Low Carbon Vehicles program manager

Projects to be funded include:

  • Ultra Lightweight Gas Turbine Range Extender for Electric Vehicles. Led by Bladon Jets, this consortium includes SR Drives and Jaguar Land Rover. Total project cost is £2,206,784, with the TSB providing £1,103,392.

    The aim of this project is to develop an ultra-lightweight, gas turbine powered, electric vehicle range extender that will enable vehicle weight savings of 100 kg or more and a modest reduction in CO2 emissions on the UNECE101 drive cycle. More substantial CO2 savings can be achieved in real world use. The small size, multi-fuel capability and potential low cost of the ULRE could also help speed adoption of electric vehicles.

  • Development of high energy Li-S prototype battery cells. Oxis Energy Ltd (lead) and ABSL Power Solutions will receive £235,000 from TSB in a £470,000 project focused on improving the durability and quality of Lithium-metal Sulphide (Li-S) 1Ah prototype pouch cells with specific energy of 220 - 250 Wh/Kg and combining these in series to create a 20-40 volt module.

    These battery cells are expected to have improved cycle life stability and safety features superior to those of Li-ion batteries. Objectives are: (a) develop and demonstrate Li-S prototype cells with specific energy of 250 Wh/Kg and improved cycle life stability; (b) demonstrate Li-S cell tolerance to mechanical, electrical and thermal abuse; (c) demonstrate a bill of materials of $800/KWh (in volume production).

Other projects include:

TSB Low-Carbon Vehicle Technology Awards
2nd Generation Zero Emissions 12t Battery Electric Truck Leyland Trucks (lead), MAGTEC, Valence Technology
LOPEPS - Low Power Electric Power Steering to provide steering assist during parking for small, ultra-efficient vehicles TRW Conekt (lead), Tata Motors European Technical Centre, Brook Crompton
High Efficiency Transmission (HET) for Electric Vehicles Antonov Automotive Technologies Ltd (lead), MIRA, JLR
High energy sodium-nickel battery cell for EV application (Acronym: NINACELL) Ionotec Ltd (lead), Dynamic-Ceramic Ltd, Birmingham University, University College London, Aloxsys Inc
High energy density TMO/Si-alloy battery for PHEVs Axeon Technologies Ltd (lead), University of St Andrews, Nexeon Ltd, Ricardo UK Ltd
GKN Eco-Trailer GKN AutoStructures Ltd (lead), Magnetic Systems Technology Ltd
BladeBoost - A Novel Rotary Supercharger for Ultra-Efficient Downsized Gasoline Engines Ricardo UK Ltd (lead), Lontra, Ford Motor Company
MU2IC Ptech Engines Ltd (lead), Tickford Powertrain Test Ltd, MUSI Engines Ltd, Concept Group International
FLYBUS - Flywheel Based Mechanical Hybrid System for Bus & Commercial Vehicle Applications including Retrofit Programme Torotrak (Development) Ltd (lead), Ricardo UK Ltd, Optare Group Ltd, Allison Transmission Europe (UK)
Low CO2 High Efficiency Diesel Fuel Injector Nozzle (LOCOFIN) Delphi Diesel Systems UK Ltd (lead), University College London
Flexible Multiport Converter Technology Prodrive (lead), Scisys, Raytheon Systems Ltd, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, International Transformers, University of Manchester
EDS TurboClaw AVL Powertrain UK Ltd (lead), Dynamic Boosting Systems Ltd, TURBOCAM Europe Ltd
Demonstration of Aggressive Downsizing a Truck Engine with Epicam Supercharger - ESTED (Epicam Supercharger Truck Engine Downsizing) Epicam Ltd (lead), J C Bamford Excavators Ltd, The Hardstaff Group, Birmingham City University
eDCT - Low Cost High Efficiency Transmission Actuation: Electric Moving Magnet Linear Actuator Ricardo UK Ltd (lead), TRW Ltd, Raicam Clutch Ltd
Syner-D - Integration of Synergistic Cost Effective CO2 Technologies for Diesel Ricardo UK Ltd (lead), Jaguar Cars Ltd, Shell Global Solutions (UK), Lontra, SKF (UK) Ltd, Valeo Engine Cooling UK Ltd

Since 2007, the Technology Strategy Board’s Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation Platform, sponsored by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, with strong support from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, Regional Development Agencies and the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, has invested £74 million (US$119.3 million) in more than 50 innovative research, development and demonstration projects, including the road-testing of 340 low carbon vehicles across the UK during 2010. Including contributions from the participating companies, the total value to date of investment in low carbon vehicle research and development managed through the Innovation Platform is nearly £150 million (US$242 million).


Henry Gibson

Yes, a turbine range extender for plug in hybrid vehicles. Sodium nickel chloride batteries developed in the UK are adequate and new lithium technology is interesting, but such a vehicle can be made even with EFFPOWER lead batteries or the Australian CSIRO lead capacitor batteries or even special OPTIMA units. ..HG..


"EFFPOWER lead batteries or the Australian CSIRO lead capacitor batteries or even special OPTIMA units" - these are shipping for how much where?


Henry you might also be interested in CNT(carbon nanotube lead) batteries from Micro Bubble Technologies. 94.12 Wh per pound and charges in 15-45 minutes. Kelly, these aren't available yet but they have shipped some from Korea to the US for final evaluation. Perhaps available to some this summer.


I can imagine a sweet little 30 pound, 40 hp, foil bearing, gas turbine MG set with a centrifugal compressor and a radial inflow turbine that has abysmal SFC, that would cost no more (and certainly no less) than a small 100 pound, 40 hp, direct injection, push rod, ICE MG that gets good SFC and is almost off-the-shelf.
A 70 pound difference is 9 gallons of fuel.

Maybe these numbers are unfair to the gas turbine, or maybe to the ICE.

. but the auto makers know and will work it out

. . as long as Chevron doesn't patent it, of course .


It will take quite a bit of time to get the cost and durabilty issues sussed out.. notice they are targetting 800 bucks a kwh?


"demonstrate a bill of materials of $800/KWh (in volume production)" for Li-S chemistry. Very impressive if this can be done and done at the bargain price of 470k pounds.

Chris O

$800 "bill of materials":is that the same as production cost? Why invest any money at all in battery technology with a cost expectancy that's probably triple what LiFePo can offer today and much too high to ever make any economic sense at all in automotive applications?


I'm very glad that the UK is backing the development of LiS batteries, but the targets for this project are laughably pessimistic.

For example, there are already LiIon batteries available on the open market at 250 Wh/kg. SION and Polyplus have already developed LiS cells of up to 400 Wh/kg (although with some safety and cycle life issues). Moreover, the costs of LiS cells are inherently lower than LiIon cells due to lower materials costs, particularly on a per kWh basis.

They should at least be aiming for 400 Wh/kg and $200 per kWh.


Using lithium and sulfur as the major chemicals, the potential for cost reduction with experience is huge.  $800/kWh for a brand-new chemistry isn't at all bad, though; it compares nicely to early LiCoO, and the performance will make it desirable for laptops, cell phones and other applications.  Dropping in price to the point where it can edge other chemistries out of the traction market can come later.

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