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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P510397/1
Title: PALIS - Protected Anodes for Lithium Sulphur Batteries
Principal Investigator: Bhagat, Dr R
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: WMG
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 01 August 2016 Ends: 31 October 2019 Value (£): 170,538
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Storage
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
JM, Oxford University, Ilika and WMG propose a collaboration to jointly develop a high energy density protected anode material for Li-sulphur batteries, as a low cost alternative to traditional lithium-ion. The project will evaluate protection mechanisms for anode materials. Without the protective layer, anode materials show little reversible capacity. These protected anodes give a much higher cycle life that can compete with traditional LiB (~500-1000 cycles at least before 80% initial capacity is reached). This is an innovative energy storage solution to be used in conjunction with renewable energy harvesting, with around three times more energy density than the current technology. Storing electrical energy from renewable energy sources in battery banks for release at peak times has the benefit of reducing CO2 emissions. In addition, with the higher volumetric energy envisioned using this technology, LiSBs will have the potential to be used in electric vehicles which has previously been the reserve of Li-ion technology. The main advantage to using LiSBs over LIBs is the higher energy density, which can lead to lower cost per Wh. This can give LiSBs the market opportunity for implementation in future application in the stationary energy storage and automotive sector.

Oxford will screen and develop solid electrolyte materials with optimum ionic conductivity for protecting the lithium anode. This work will involve synthesis of ceramic electrolytes and will be carried out in combination with the high throughput-PVD techniques of Ilika. In parallel, fabrication of composite structures of protective layers for the anode will be created in collaboration with Ilika and JM. Evaluation of best-performing solid electrolytes to be employed for protecting the anode will subsequently take place in order to focus on analysis of the protection mechanism. A deeper understanding of the interfacial phenomena, occurring in the protected anode will be further investigated through both electrochemical and microstructural analyses such as galvanostatic/potentiostatic polarisation or cycling, EIS, SEM, XPS and X-ray CT.

In this project the WMG will utilise facilities and technologists within its partly government funded Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) which has been established to provide both industry and academia alike with a capability to use emerging battery chemistries in multi-scale formats from research scale through to representative prototype sizes. The EIC features electrode mixing and coating equipment incorporating the latest technology for producing high quality, consistent electrodes. JM are experts in material development and have recently demonstrated that cell performance of their cathode material in Li-S prototypes is comparable and competitive with commercial Li-ion cells in terms of cycle life, energy density and rate capability. The partners will advance the performance of current LiSBs technology by developing high energy density protected anode materials -imperative for pushing LiSBs onto both the stationary energy storage market and into the automotive industry.

The WMG will work directly with JM and Ilika to develop the high energy protected anode composites and also optimise the Li-S electrodes in conjunction with Oxford for both high energy and cycle life. The aim of the research is to provide new anode and cathode materials for high energy LiSBs, which will surpass performance levels of the commercialised Li-ion graphite systems. The benefit to the academic community is the dissemination of practical research which has the capability of accelerating the uptake of LiSB technology into a high value manufacturing environment. The commercialisation strategy is to licence the Li-S technology IP to material and battery manufacturers.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.warwick.ac.uk