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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W018950/1
Title: Sustainable microwave manufacturing of functional inorganic materials (SuMMa)
Principal Investigator: Cussen, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Coca, Professor D Robinson, Dr J Brown, Dr S
Boston, Dr R Rothman, Professor R Lees, Dr J
Porch, Professor A Cussen, Dr E Campbell, Dr KLS
Slocombe, Dr DR Cordiner, Professor J Patwardhan, Professor SV
Dimitrakis, Dr G Howse, Dr J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Advanced Microwave Technologies Ltd Britishvolt Centre for Process Innovation CPI (UK)
Johnson Matthey Microwave Technologies Cousulting STFC Laboratories (Grouped)
University of Warwick
Department: Chemical & Biological Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2022 Ends: 31 May 2025 Value (£): 1,683,171
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Synthetic Methodology Electrochemical Science & Eng.
Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
02 Nov 2021 Sustainable manufacturing Full Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Delivery of bespoke, tailored functional materials for specific applications often requires multistep and/or custom manufacturing processes which may not always be transferable. This programme of research brings together experts from

across the UK with the goal of designing, developing and deploying sustainable microwave manufacturing processes that deliver bespoke inorganic functional materials not accessible at scale by current manufacturing methods. Microwave

processing affords unique control and heating characteristics which, when coupled with judicious reactant choice, can shorten reaction times (from days to minutes), avoid unwanted side-reactions which can lead to unwanted additional

products and improve short-range crystallinity by alleviating defect formation. These benefits represent considerable advantanges over traditional methods, where processing can lead to defects which plague performance.

Synthesis of state-of-the-art, tailored functional materials currently requires additional resource demands, be they multistep processes or more energy-intensive treatments. Solving the production of such materials represents a key challenge in delivering materials with demanding performance criteria, e.g. nanostructured cathodes for high power density applications or textured electrodes for long cycle life. The unique properties of microwaves offer a greener, faster, and more targeted manufacturing route to achieving high value functional materials.

Here, we target the scaled-up (kg/day) synthesis of nanostructured and faceted cathode particles, with the key delivery of (i) a microwave flow reactor producing high quality Li-ion battery cathode materials with primary particle morphologies and performances not accessible by traditional synthetic routes and (ii) a sustainable route to the reduction of manufacturing resource use, to just the amount required, through delivery of resource efficiency, multi-level optimization and circular economy principles. Realising this sustainable microwave manufacturing route to high value energy storage cathodes of immediate interest for next-generation electric vehicle applications has the opportunity to contribute in a significant way to a UK economic chemical industry opportunity worth a potential £2.7B per year.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk