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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R023034/1
Title: ISCF Wave 1: 3D electrodes from 2D materials
Principal Investigator: Dryfe, Professor RAW
Other Investigators:
Low, Dr C Jennings, Professor P Forsyth, Professor A
Todd, Dr R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Archipelago Technology Group Jaguar Land Rover Johnson Matthey
Technical Fibre Products Ltd
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 October 2017 Ends: 30 September 2020 Value (£): 917,401
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Storage
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project focuses on delivering one of the key Industrial Challenge Fund Areas, which is 'the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the electrification of vehicles'. The improved materials, electrodes and devices will be designed, manufactured and validated in two key centres in the UK, which are (1) National Graphene Centre at Manchester and (2) the UK's first full battery prototyping lines in a non-commercial environment at the WMG Energy Innovation Centre.

Developments in electrochemical energy storage have transformed our use of personal devices (mobile phones, laptops)

and are now poised to bring about a similar transformation in vehicular transport. Electrochemical energy storage (batteries

for storage of energy, supercapacitors where delivery of power is critical) is also making in-roads to other fields of transport,

such as aircraft, and is increasingly a focus for storage of electricity on the "grid" scale. Improvements in energy storage

depend on a chain of technological developments, but the initial one is the development of new electrochemistry/electrode

materials, which allows more energy to be stored and/or higher power extraction.

The advent of 2D materials, sparked by the isolation of graphene (2-dimensional carbon) and understanding of its

exceptional physical properties, has ignited enormous interest in the application of this family of materials as electrodes,

with the express goals of improving existing storage approaches, and of developing new electrochemical storage methods.

Although initial results with graphene, in both the battery and supercapacitor contexts, have been promising subsequent

work has shown that the strong thermodynamic tendency of graphene sheets to re-aggregate (to graphite) means that

initial improvements in performance are generally not retained over repeated cycles.

The approach that we concentrate on in this work is to use so-called heterostructures, solution phase mixtures

of more than one 2D material, as our composite electrode material.

A second point is that 2D materials are often only available on a very small scale, thus testing of their

performance in electrochemical storage technologies is frequently performed on scales that are too small to be

representative of realistic devices, particularly with regard to transport applications. Again, we will address this challenge by

exploiting our own (patented) method to "exfoliate" 2D materials, which is scaleable, and by building in porosity to the

electrode design when scaling the electrode preparations up. Finally, we will test the assembled large scale

devices under realistic operational conditions and use the results of that testing to inform further optimisation of the

material preparation and the electrode formulation.

The proposal aligns strongly with the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund objectives in that it:

1: has strong support from a range of UK businesses (right across the value chain from small materials processing firms to end users such as JLR) and thereby increases UK businesses' investment in R&D and improved R&D capability and capacity;

2: the work is a collaboration between a Chemist (Manchester), Chemical Engineer (WMG) and Electrical Engineers (Manchester), and thus provides multi- and interdisciplinary research around the challenge areas of the ISCF;

3: the project will increase business-academic links in areas relating to the challenge areas, specifically as development of new electrode materials, novel methods to study degradation and to model cell performance are important components of this work

4: the project will increase collaboration between younger, smaller companies (eg Archipelago) and larger, more established companies up the value chain (eg Johnson Matthey, JLR);

5: Successful prosecution of the project will increase overseas investment in R&D in the UK, given the direct links to overseas-owned industries in the project.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk