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UK-based consortium established to develop prototype solid-state batteries

Fri, 08/27/2021 - 13:27 -- Paul Crompton

A consortium of seven UK-based organisations has signed a memorandum of understanding to develop prototype solid-state batteries for automotive applications. 

The collaboration will combine industry and academia to produce cells using scalable manufacturing techniques that “leapfrog the cost-effectiveness and performance achieved elsewhere”. 

The consortium comprises of: Johnson Matthey, Faraday Institution, Britishvolt, Oxford University, UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, Emerson & Renwick and the University of Warwick (WMG).

The preliminary design for a prototyping facility has been developed. However, funding is still to be put in place. 

It’s hoped the facility will enable solid-state battery technology to be developed in UK university laboratories, and improve the manufacturing and testing of prototype batteries.

David Greenwood (pictured), professor of Advanced Propulsion Systems, and CEO of WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said: “Early forms of solid-state battery are already around us, but we have yet to see solutions which are both mass-manufacturable and meet the performance and cost targets for future transport applications. 

“There remains huge opportunity for innovation in this space, and this initiative will provide the route for the UK to fast-track candidate technologies to industrialisation.”

Christian Gunther, CEO, Battery Materials at Johnson Matthey, said: “The realisation of a prototype solid-state battery cell will be a great achievement for the UK battery industry, and this consortium will be a critical enabler for delivering this milestone. 

“Delivering enhanced range and safety over traditional lithium-ion battery technologies will be a key driver for battery electric vehicle adoption.” 

Solid-state batteries offer potential advantages over existing lithium-ion battery technologies, including the ability to hold more charge for a given volume and reduce costs of safety-management. 

The Faraday Institution forecasts that, in 2030, solid-state batteries could take a 7% share of the global consumer electronics battery market and a 4% share of the EV battery market.

However, there are fundamental scientific challenges that need to be addressed before they are fully commercialised, with the Faraday Institution’s SOLBAT project making progress to address these challenges over the last three years. 

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