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Faraday Battery Challenge awarding £27.6M to 17 projects

The UK Research and Innovation’s Faraday Battery Challenge is awarding £27.6 million (US$34.2 million) to 17 projects to support innovation in propulsion battery technologies for electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK. The projects aim to enable UK competitiveness across the battery value chain by:

  • Building and securing the UK supply chain
  • Improving battery performance
  • Reducing cost of batteries
  • Developing more efficient and globally competitive manufacturing processes
  • Developing more sustainable batteries
  • Accelerating the development and scale-up of battery technologies

Feasibility studies

CONDUCTOR: thin and lightweight current collector for lithium-ion battery (LIB). LIB batteries are one of the heaviest and most expensive components in a battery EV. The project aims to:

  • develop a lightweight and low-cost polymer current collector to replace the aluminium and copper foil current collectors used in LIBs
  • be the first UK manufacturer of LIB current collectors

The project estimates their polymer current collector will save 4kg in weight in a typical 50kg automotive battery pack, increasing the battery’s charge and power density.

Consortia members:

  • Rapid Powders Limited
  • Euriscus Limited
  • University of Warwick
  • Global Nano Network Limited
  • Graphene Star Ltd

Continuous manufacture of Li-ion battery cathode materials using oscillating baffled reactor or crystalliser technology (CatContiCryst). This project aims to:

  • demonstrate the technical feasibility of manufacturing nickel salt, cobalt salt and manganese salt (NMC) precursor materials using continuous oscillatory baffled reactor or crystallizer (COBR/C) technology
  • provide required process data for future scale-up to commercial scale
  • define the process parameters that allow advantageous manipulation of the NMC properties (specifically in the generation of longer-lifetime single-crystal cathode morphologies)
  • allow a definition of the benefits of continuous processing over current technologies

Successful execution of the project will lead to an innovative, efficient, and flexible manufacturing approach being available for industrial scale production. Plus, the potential of improved performance of the materials produced, a reduction in energy demand for manufacture and a lower capital cost to implement.

Consortia members:

  • Nitech Solutions Limited
  • CPI
  • University of Sheffield

Enhanced carbon nano tubes (CNT) for high power electrodes: creating a robust UK battery material supply chain. This project aims to contribute to next generation Li-ion battery supply chain leadership for the UK and its successful placement in the domestic and international markets. Matching Echion’s anode materials with Q-Flo’s highly conductive ultra-long carbon nanotubes will demonstrate a new battery anode low-mass additive for high-power, high-energy density and long cycle life batteries.

Consortia members:

  • Q-Flo Limited
  • University of Cambridge
  • Echion Technologies Ltd

Digital twin for quality and yield improvement at battery gigafactory (DigiTwin). One of the largest challenges for scaling battery production, is the speed at which high quality batteries need to be created. The other is the ability to increase the volume whilst maintaining productivity.

Using an open access X-ray computed tomography (CT) digital solution, Waygate Technologies with the UK Battery Industrialisation Center (UKBIC) are working towards significantly improving productivity at the facility. A 1% yield improvement in a 20GWh battery gigafactory could save more than £21 million a year and reduce raw material wastage, some of which are rare earth minerals.

The DigiTwin team will establish the feasibility of creating a digital twin of UKBIC to explore the effectiveness of CT scanning as an advanced analytical tool to identify, analyse and resolve quality defects much faster and more accurately than traditional inspection methods.

Consortia members:

  • Waygate Technologies, a Baker Hughes business
  • PXL Ice Limited
  • UK Battery Industrialization Center

Temperature monitoring, cooling and heating during normal operation in a demonstration battery pack (TECHNO). A project to develop an innovative battery pack suitable for all EVs. For a battery to deliver its best performance over a long life, the temperature of all the cells in it must be kept uniformly at the right operating temperature. TECHNO is the first system designed to be able to do this with its capacity for active differential thermal management.

Working to the requirements of industry partners, who manufacture batteries and battery management systems, the TECHNO project will create an intelligent battery module which can monitor and control its own temperature profile.

Consortia members:

  • PST Sensors Europe Limited
  • University of Nottingham
  • P.A.K Engineering Ltd
  • CPI

Collaborative research and development

Electron beam battery welding (EB-Bat). The EB-Bat project will demonstrate battery pack manufacture using a process shown to be potentially 20 times faster than laser welding. Electron beams (EBs) can be deflected and refocused much faster than laser beams, as this is achieved using magnetic fields, without moving parts as the welds are made. Plus, EBs do not suffer from reflectivity from copper and aluminium, making more consistent and reliable welds.

The EB-Bat project will provide a compelling demonstration of the process performance, productivity, quality and economics to the automotive manufacturing sector with an aim to secure funding to take it into production.

Consortia members:

  • Aquasium Technology Limited
  • Delta Cosworth Ltd
  • TWI Ltd

Enabling extreme automotive power (EXtrAPower). Bringing to market an ultra-fast charging battery technology, providing a solution to critical unmet needs in the automotive sector and beyond. This innovative battery drops vehicle charging from hours to minutes, with a similar or improved performance output compared to a bank of batteries double its size thanks to high power density. Further, Nyobolt batteries have a long lifetime, low risk of premature failure and are recyclable, resulting in a very small carbon footprint and creating user confidence.

Consortia members:

  • Nyobolt Limited
  • University of Cambridge
  • Coventry University
  • Williams Advanced Engineering Ltd

Coated current collector for battery performance improvement (CONTACT). Current collectors are a critical component of a battery. Used to bridge batteries and external circuits, they are responsible for the flow of electrons between the negative and the positive terminals of the battery (electrodes). These directly influence the charge rate capability, battery capacity and the useful lifespan of the cell. Unfortunately, the market suffers from:

  • poor adhesion
  • high degradation
  • severe corrosion issues
  • increased contact resistance

This project aims to validate Global Nano Network (GNN) coatings technology in a continuous roll-to-roll environment and then produce cylindrical cells the performance. Having established a UK-based value chain, the project will increase GNN’s manufacturing readiness level of production facilities in the UK by engaging all stakeholders.

GNN’s proprietary formulation uses organic polymers and binders and conductive material to reduce contact resistance, prevent corrosion, and increase adhesion. These advantages make the battery industry more competitive and sustainable for EV applications but also for mobile devices and energy storage systems requiring high electrical performance.

Consortia members:

  • Global Nano Network Limited
  • University of Warwick
  • Williams Advanced Engineering Ltd
  • Bridgnorth Aluminium Limited
  • Circuit Engineering Marketing Company Ltd

Construction of smart 3-dimensional electrode Lithium-ion batteries via industrial processes and standards (CONSTELLATION) aims to advance the performance of EV battery cells by:

  • improving the competitiveness of the UK battery supply chain
  • taking technology already developed to technology readiness level 7, ready towards full commercialisation

Objectives for this project include developing new verticals in cell manufacture through improvements to the manufacturing efficiency, performance and environmental profile of cells optimised for the automotive market. These will be achieved through:

  • improvements in novel current collectors designed by the adoption of artificial intelligence
  • the formulation of customised electrodes in lithium-ion batteries using coating that can be robotically automated

New verticals will help reduce the time for scaling cell production resulting in lower costs for manufacturing and cost of ownership for the end-user.

Project CONSTELLATION will demonstrate minimal disruption to existing gigafactories as it represents a ‘drop-in’ solution where affordable electrodes can be supplied to a variety of facilities.

Consortia members:

  • Addionics Limited
  • CPI
  • James Durrans & Sons Limited
  • University of Warwick

Next generation lithium ferro-phosphate (LFP) cathode material (NEXLFP). NEXLFP, is a project aiming at developing, scaling up and demonstrating high capacity, high discharge rate and low-cost LFP battery material and cell.

NEXLFP’s LFP material customers are EV gigafactories and cell manufacturers that require reliable, higher performance LFP material to improve their current LFP cells at a competitive price.

The overall product value propositions for end-users and taxpayers include:

  • higher power density and discharge rate
  • about 30% lower cost (or about 30% more capacity)
  • 20% less weight and material consumption
  • about 3 times more capacity in cold temperatures, at high discharge rates
  • safety and reliability
  • security of supply

Consortia members:

  • Integrals Power Limited
  • Cranfield University

EV – Development of new processes to recover critical metals from multi-chemistry, end-of-life EV batteries and convert them into tailored cathode-active materials (CAM-EV). The CAM-EV project focuses on optimizing Altilium’s novel hydrometallurgical method.

To process black mass containing multiple end-of-life battery chemistries to recover the critical metals and ensure the consistent production of a high-quality, tailored cathode-active material (CAM).

Imperial College London will test and qualify the CAM material in silo, before using it to manufacture cathodes in battery cells for further performance qualification. Also, the consortium will perform a technical and commercial viability assessment regarding the processing of next-generation sodium ion batteries.

Consortia members:

  • Altilium Metals Ltd
  • Imperial College London

The Voltt: A database of battery parameters for virtual modelling and optimisation of battery cells to accelerate research and development. Current research and design processes for battery developments are expensive and time consuming as they can take several years.

Although battery modelling tools exist, they suffer from a lack of accurate data.

The requirements for data or expensive equipment for data capture sets a high bar for new entrants into the industry and is a barrier to battery development.

Although virtual modelling can speed up the battery development process, by helping with cell selection and lifetime predictions, typical modelling tools offer battery modelling but no data. So, the major limiting factor to virtual battery modelling is a lack of accurate data.

The Voltt is a solution that will allow organizations to harness the power of data and modelling to speed-up battery developments. Through the Voltt, customers will have access to in-house, high-quality cell data sets and access to battery models.

Consortia members:

  • About:Energy Limited
  • Imperial College London
  • Arrival Ltd

New biomass anode technology and silicon electrodes with high energy density (New BATSEED). The New BATSEED project will deliver 2 innovative developments for next generation automotive EV battery cells and anode materials.

Resulting in a significant boost in energy density for increased EV driving range and for fast charge.

Nexeon will develop a new silicon anode material and high silicon content electrodes to enable higher energy density Li-ion cells.

The project will use cell assembly capabilities at Coventry University to fabricate and test silicon containing cells.

While a team from University College London’s Electrochemical Innovation Lab will support to optimise via feedback from analysis of electrode structures and cycled cells.

Consortia members:

  • Nexeon Limited
  • Coventry University
  • University College London

Developing commercially viable quasi-solid-state Li-S batteries for the automotive market. Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries are a promising energy storage technology for application where high performance, lightweight batteries are needed, such as in certain aerospace and electrical vehicle (EV) applications. This project aims to accelerate the development, scale-up and commercialization of Li-S batteries within the aerospace and EV markets.

This project focuses on the development of quasi-solid-state Li-S batteries that have the potential to significantly improve the:

  • number of times Li-S batteries can be cycled before they reach end of life
  • energy they can store per unit volume
  • temperature range over which they can operate

Consortia members:

  • OXLiD Ltd
  • University of Nottingham
  • University College London
  • William Blythe Limited
  • WAE Ltd
  • Exawatt Limited
  • Emerson and Renwick Limited
  • Infineum UK Ltd

The high silicon content anodes for a solid state battery project (The HISTORY Project). While conventional liquid electrolyte-based lithium-ion batteries (LIB) are the incumbent technology for powering EV, solid state battery (SSB) technology is expected to rapidly provide safety and performance improvement compared to LIB.

In this project, UK-based partners will contribute to the development of a multi-layer, solid state pouch cell with specifications aligned with the need of EV pack developers.

Consortia members:

  • Ilika Technologies Ltd
  • CPI
  • Nexeon Plc
  • University College of London
  • HSSMI Trading Ltd
  • Imperial College London
  • University of St Andrews

Recovering battery-grade materials from upgraded black mass to enable remanufacturing of automotive battery products in the UK (REBLEND). REBLEND aims to develop the core processes and capabilities for a UK-based automotive battery recycling industry that can recover CAMs from production scrap and end of life automotive and consumer batteries for reuse in automotive batteries.

REBLEND will demonstrate 3 processes for recovering the most expensive CAMs, cobalt, nickel and lithium through:

  • combining novel delamination, magnetic, electrostatic and membrane separation techniques to produce separated and greater than or equal to 89% pure anodic and greater than or equal to 94% pure cathodic black mass from shredded EoL LIBs (compared to less than 89% pure mixed black mass from best-in-class competitor) enabling battery-grade CAM recovery for £6 per kg
  • direct cathode reclamation from production scrap (containing nickel and cobalt) removing the need for hydro-metallurgy and enabling direct reuse in new cells
  • processing coarse shredded material (2 to 6mm) using electrostatic and magnetic separation, preventing carcinogenic dust formation, significantly reducing health and safety risks for workers

Consortia members:

  • Ecoshred Limited
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Birmingham
  • Minviro Ltd
  • Iconichem Widnes Ltd
  • Watercycle Technologies Limited
  • Ecolamp Recycling Ltd
  • Cornish Lithium

Gamma. The project focuses on developing an integrated structural battery pack and wireless communicating battery cells to allow increased efficiency, reliability, and sustainability of automotive batteries.

It aims to support the growth of UK manufacturers of automotive battery components and products.

Consortia members:

  • Jaguar Land Rover Limited
  • Altair Engineering Limited
  • Danecca Ltd


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