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Newcastle’s research expertise supports a new battery safety project

Newcastle University will be involved in a Faraday Institution £22.6m battery research project aiming to deliver commercial impact.

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The Faraday Institution has announced a £22.6m commitment to build on its momentum in four key research challenges: extending battery life, battery modelling, recycling and reuse and solid-state batteries. In doing so, and by strengthening the organisation’s commercialisation team and strategy, it is further focusing on those areas of battery research that offer the most potential to deliver commercial impact for the UK.

Recognising its importance in the Faraday Institution’s research agenda, a focused research project on battery safety has been assembled, integrating research previously carried out in several different projects.

Launched just three years ago, the Faraday Institution has convened a research community of over 450 researchers across 21 universities and a set of 50 industry partners to work on game-changing energy storage technologies that will transform the UK energy landscape from transportation to grid.

The £22.6m will fund refocused research projects, including targeting market opportunities and early-stage commercial development, in the following areas:

  • Extending battery life, led by Prof Clare Grey, University of Cambridge, with researchers from the Universities of Birmingham, Liverpool, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton, Warwick, Imperial College London and UCL.
  • Battery modelling, led by Dr Gregory Offer, Imperial College London, with researchers from the Universities of Bath, Birmingham, Lancaster, Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton, Warwick and UCL.
  • Recycling and reuse (ReLiB), led by Dr Paul Anderson, University of Birmingham, with researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Leicester, Newcastle and UCL.
  • Solid-state batteries (SOLBAT), led by Prof Peter Bruce, University of Oxford, with researchers from the Universities of Liverpool, Sheffield, Warwick and UCL.
  • Battery safety (SafeBatt), led by Prof Paul Shearing of UCL, with researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Newcastle, Sheffield, Warwick, Imperial College London and UCL.

Newcastle University is involved with the SafeBatt and ReLib projects.

Professor Paul Christensen, of Newcastle University’s School of Engineering, is a SafeBatt project co-investigator. He said: “Lithium ion batteries are amazing devices and essential for the decarbonisation of the planet, but there is a risk that their penetration into our society has far outstripped our understanding of the associated risks and challenges.”

Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said: “The Faraday Institution’s vital research into energy storage is pivotal for meeting our net-zero commitments, particularly as we shift to low-emissions transport on our roads and in our skies. I’m delighted that we’re continuing to support their valuable work as part of our commitment to strengthen the UK’s science and research sector, ensuring we build back greener from the pandemic.”

“The Faraday Institution has been operating as a vibrant successful start-up organisation, growing rapidly and achieving a great deal,” commented Professor Pam Thomas, CEO, Faraday Institution. “With our projects maturing and now delivering scientific discoveries we have bolstered our commercialisation team and capability and strengthened our commercialisation strategy. In doing so we are directing even more effort towards those areas of battery research that offer the maximum potential of delivering commercial, societal and environment impact for the UK.”

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, skills development, market analysis and early-stage commercialisation. It drives early stage, industry-inspired research with a clear mission: make significant scientific breakthroughs in battery research and put them on a path to commercialisation in the global race to electrification for the benefit of the UK.

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