Boost for electric vehicle battery chemistry

Nexeon – the developer of silicon-based anodes for next generation lithium ion batteries – is part of a UK consortium awarded almost £1 million in funding by the Technology Strategy Board – TSB. The aim of the project is to develop new battery chemistry that will deliver high energy densities, and to produce a prototype for the plug-in electric vehicles (PHEV) application.

Working with Nexeon are advanced battery manufacturer Axeon, the University of St Andrews, a centre of excellence for battery materials chemistry and Ricardo, a leading provider of technology and engineering solutions to the automotive and transport industries. The consortium partners will match the TSB funding in the £2 million project.

Over the next two years, applied research conducted at St Andrews on potential new cathode materials will be combined with appropriate chemical engineering by Nexeon to scale-up material synthesis and optimize electrode fabrication, resulting in prototype Li-ion cells based on its proprietary silicon anode technology. The cells produced will be used by Axeon to construct a usable, PHEV-type battery, with cells engineered into a housing with electrical interconnects and harnessing. Ricardo will perform extensive testing of the battery module integrated into a demonstrator vehicle platform.

The project will therefore accelerate knowledge transfer from university-based fundamental research to optimized synthesis and scale up for cell production for use in a demonstrator PHEV battery pack.

Nexeon presented its latest findings at a conference in Japan at the beginning of this month, and has received a good deal of interest from commentators and potential partners alike. The Company was founded as a spin-out from Imperial Innovations, and the technology is based on work done by Professor Mino Green, Emeritus Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Imperial College, London. Nexeon has established research and development facilities and a pilot plant at the Science Centre at Culham, Oxfordshire,

Dr Scott Brown, CEO of Nexeon commented:
This TSB supported project provides an ideal opportunity, in collaboration with our consortium members, to demonstrate Nexeon’s unique silicon battery anode technology in an automotive application and to accelerate progress toward new and improved PHEV batteries.

John Laughlin, the TSB’s programme manager for low carbon vehicles, added:
Our support for this project is part of our ongoing major investment programme aimed at putting the UK at the forefront of low carbon vehicle technology. The research we are funding will strengthen the UK’s automotive industry, while speeding up the reduction of carbon emissions and helping to meet UK and EU climate change targets. We are delighted to support this exciting project, which brings together some of the UK’s world-class expertise in vehicle battery development, and look forward to following its progress.

Lawrence Berns, CEO of Axeon noted, “As a leading provider of innovative EV battery technology Axeon is delighted to be leading this consortium. This project will give us access to exciting new chemistries that will enable us to deliver improved PHEV battery solutions for our customers.