£20m of funding from the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)

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The Energy Innovation Centre was set up almost a decade ago at Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick to focus on battery manufacturing and material development from the production of cells through to testing drive trains.

WHAT ERA IS DOING

The Energy Innovation Centre is a world-class facility for battery research across the R&D process from materials and electrochemistry through to application integration and recycling / re-use. The facilities support test, development and scale up of new battery chemistries from concept through to full proven traction batteries, produced in sufficient quantities for detailed industrial evaluation in target applications.

ERA is investing in new equipment and facilities at the Energy Innovation Centre in order to drive the development, integration and adoption of new, innovative battery technologies. ERA’s investment supports the following:

Cell materials and characterisation: A programme of tests takes place on commercially available battery technologies from cell to pack level, from ageing tests to thermal testing, abuse and vibration testing. The team regularly tear down commercial battery packs to identify failure mechanisms which need to be addressed in next generation battery pack designs.

Modelling and simulation: The Energy Innovation Centre allows prediction of battery performance across a wide range of conditions and applications. They are intended for use at vehicle level through to component level to gain an understanding of basic electrochemical phenomena affecting ageing.

Electro-mechanical testing: As batteries become more of a structural feature in vehicles, it is vitally important to understand how they behave when they are damaged in accidents. The Energy Innovation Centre is able to test batteries to destruction in order to simulate the effects of stress and damage on them.

Inductive charging: Inductive (or wireless) charging is a rapidly growing technology area. The Energy Innovation Centre is looking at ways in which the process can be made more efficient and cost-effective and applied to a variety of uses.

Hardware in the loop laboratory: This involves a series of computers simulating and modelling scenarios such as connecting vehicles to the grid to store and supply electricity and the impact that may have on battery life.

Facility upgrades: ERA is investing in improvements to facilities and is also enabling new facilities to be built at the Energy Innovation Centre. These include laboratories and a dry room for cell assembly lines.

Ionic liquids for electroplating of materials: This is an ERA investment based at the University of Leicester, which is examining the potential use of ionic liquids in battery production to improve energy efficiency and reduce chemical emissions. The work links in with the research being conducted at the Energy Innovation Centre.

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ERA’s investment played a significant rote in the University of Warwick becoming part of the national Faraday Battery Institute.

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Battery Innovation