Two UK universities have formed a company to help commercialise battery modelling capability and give the organisations it works with a “competitive advantage”.
About:Energy, a joint spin out from Imperial College London and the University of Birmingham, has been set up to facilitate the use of battery modelling developed by the Faraday Institution’s Multi-scale Modelling Project.
About:Energy will be a consultancy business, based on a bespoke, patented measurement method, and utilising the expertise from both universities in extracting the experimental data required to construct battery models, which is known as parameterisation.
By pooling expertise, the new company aims to provide accurate models tailored to specific battery technologies, enabling its customers to build innovative products and shorten their prototyping and development cycles.
Professor Pam Thomas, CEO, Faraday Institution, said: “About:Energy is the commercial vehicle that has been set up to provide industry organisations with modelling consultancy and where the development of tools, knowledge base and parameterisation techniques will be refined, further enhancing the UK’s battery development capabilities.
“Through the focused, industry-directed research efforts of our multi-scale modelling project team the UK has world-leading battery modelling tools.”
Its founders include professor Emma Kendrick and PhD student Kieran O’Regan from Birmingham’s School of Metallurgy and Materials; professor Greg Offer, Dr Yatish Patel, and Gavin White from Imperial College London; and Dr Alastair Hales (formerly Imperial College London, now at University of Bristol).
About:Energy has secured its first order from a large UK-based OEM and are in discussions with “leading automotive and technology companies”.
Avoiding costs and delays
In the development of new commercial battery designs with improved performance, lifetime and safety, the use of predictive computer simulations can avoid many of the costs and delays associated with the creation of the numerous physical prototype devices needed to test novel combinations of materials and cell design.
The Multi-scale Modelling Project has developed – and is continuing to refine – fast, reliable, accurate and versatile design tools – digital twins.
Accurate battery models are an important enabler for growth across the sector, including in cell design and the development of battery management systems and associated product warranties.
Thomas said: “The UK has a vibrant battery innovation ecosystem, and it is gratifying to see multiple spin-outs that the Faraday Institution is involved with assisting with each other’s success.
“The Multi-scale Modelling project and its spin out About:Energy are prime examples of our focus toward those areas of battery research that offer the maximum potential of delivering impact for the UK, and our role in setting that research on its path to commercialisation.”
A 12-month Entrepreneurial Fellowship has been awarded by the Faraday Institution to About:Energy, which will largely fund equipment purchases that will provide the company with dedicated testing equipment to reduce bottlenecks and provide a more responsive parameterisation service.
Image: Gavin White and Kieran O’Regan from About:Energy