ELEVATE (ELEctrochemical Vehicle Advanced TEchnology)

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Abstract

One of the most promising routes for decarbonising the transport sector is the use of electrochemical power and storage technologies (e.g. fuel cells, supercapacitors and batteries). However, challenges persist in terms of performance, durability, cost, integration together within vehicles (hybridisation) and interfacing with the electricity grid.
This project will deliver a technology innovation chain that adopts a material-to-system approach. We will identify, optimise and scale-up new materials into devices, develop novel diagnostic techniques in the lab and for on-board monitoring and control, and validate the technologies in a hybrid vehicle.
The objectives will be met by five interconnected work packages (WPs): Hierarchical Structured Electrodes (WP1) will combine the nano-micro scale structuring of lithium ion battery (LIB) materials with meso-scale electrode structuring to create novel hierarchical structured electrodes. The target will be to produce a range of new high power and high energy density combinations, achieved through a rational design approach based on arrangements of porosities and materials. Critical to this work will be close interaction with WP2 where meso-structure will be characterized by X-ray tomography. These 3D data will show to what extent manufacturing designs are realized (WP3), help to rationalize electrochemical performance, and guide subsequent iterations of design-make-test in a way not previously possible.
Diagnostics and Correlative Metrology (WP2) will develop new methods of analysis to provide an unparalleled level of information about the internal working of batteries, fuel cells and supercapacitors and provide a mechanism for improving device design and materials formulation through a tightly integrated programme with WP1 on materials and WP3 on devices.
System Level Integration and Evaluation (WP3), sits in a central position between materials and analysis in WP1 and 2 and grid and vehicle interfacing in WP4 and 5. This WP will integrate new materials into functioning devices and develop understanding of their performance and degradation characteristics. To examine on-board performance, real-time, system-level diagnostics and prognostics (to include, system models, state estimators and data management) will be developed to ensure safety, enable fault detection and extend system life.
In WP4, Optimised Design of High-Rate Grid Interface, the interface of vehicle with the grid will be considered, with a particular focus on high-rate charging of electric vehicles (EV), whilst also minimising the grid impact of such high power chargers. This is envisaged via use of local off-vehicle energy storage at the charging station, to permit rapid recharge of EVs to the new high capacity on-vehicle energy stores (e.g. from WP1). This WP will study the optimal off-vehicle energy storage technology (e.g. supercapacitors, batteries, flow cells), characterise and diagnose the energy store performance at high rates and perform laboratory scale testing of a rapid charger.
Finally, in WP5, In-Vehicle Aspects, Validation Platform and Impact, the newly-evolved electrochemical energy storage packages developed in earlier WPs will be validated in a hybrid vehicle. The data generated and derived equivalent circuits will be fed back into the design and innovation cycle, leading to better materials and devices. Findings will be delivered to project partners, and ultimately back to UK industry.
The cross-disciplinary nature of the work and collaborative approach is ingrained in the work-plan, where, as well as having individual responsibility for a specific aspect of the work, each partner will contribute to at least two work-packages.
We have strong industry support and will form an Industrial Advisory Committee to provide industry perspective and help us navigate the most relevant and impactful course through the project.

Planned Impact

Impact Summary

The beneficiaries of this project fall into three broad categories:

Society
- The UK Public will benefit through more energy efficient personal and commercial transport, with the resulting CO2 emission, cost reductions and air quality improvements (with consequent improvements in public health). They will also benefit from enhanced electric recharging capability for electric/hybrid vehicles, alleviating range anxiety and improving the user experience and utilisation of clean vehicles.
- Fleet Users will benefit through bespoke educational programmes to equip them with the tools necessary to evaluate PHEVs for their specific usage, leading to reduced energy costs from fully optimised vehicles.
- National and local government and policy makers will benefit from contributions to CO2 reduction targets and greater confidence in decisions affecting transport, transport infrastructure and application of energy storage technology.

The Economy
- The automotive industry will benefit from better decision making during product development leading to improved products created with more efficient processes and consequently an increase in UK competitiveness in the technology and development of hybrid vehicles. Both established OEMs, and especially new entrant OEMs (of which there are an increasing number in the UK) will benefit from the open access to the results, learning and broad range of expertise. The project will also act as a mechanism through which these new entrants can share learning and experience. Similarly, component suppliers will benefit from reduced costs in development and easy access to both knowledge at a vehicle level, and the implications both on and from their product design.
- Engineering companies outside of the automotive sector will also benefit through enhanced knowledge in the optimisation of systems involving energy storage, for example renewable energy, rail and marine applications.
- Energy storage is a driver of economic growth, with the market for lithium batteries alone predicted to be £60 bn. within 20 years and the failure to deploy grid-scale energy storage leading to high system costs from 2030. This project will enable these opportunities, working directly with high value added companies which will be immediate beneficiaries from our project. We provide statements of support detailing the involvement of companies representing the major stakeholders: from automotive manufacture to energy storage specialists and energy supply. These include major exploiters and employers.
- The electricity industry, including both network and generation elements, will benefit from new technology to minimise the impact of rapid recharging of EVs/PHEVs, whilst offering grid support through vehicle-to-grid functionality, demand prediction and management.

People
- The project team will benefit from working on an exciting and leading project with a very broad range of organisations involved - it will aid their personal and career development. They will all benefit through enhanced research profile, but crucially from the shared learning from working together, and the opportunities from significant industrial contribution.
- Other research institutions, nationally and internationally will benefit from the learning and also the shared knowledge, models and data that will be made available from the project. Student exchanges will also facilitate information flow between targeted institutions.
- Students at all levels will benefit from the enhanced knowledge and training created by the project members. This will cover taught material and projects, at all levels from basic skills to doctoral level. In particular, the next generation of young engineers (from vehicle technicians to post-graduates) will be targeted, equipping them with the new skills necessary for advanced engineering of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Key findings include the application of new materials from Oxford to battery electrodes at Warwick. This work could lead to better batteries for vehicle applications. Another interesting line of research includes the use of ionic liquids in supercapacitors; there may turn out to be battery applications as well.
Exploitation Route the application of new materials and techniques to batteries will lead to improvements in the performance of batteries, that will be exploited by industrial companies in the UK, led by the industrial partners in the project, especially JLR and Johnson Matthey Batteries.
Sectors Environment,Transport

 
Description The co-operation between the Universities is going very well, especially with regard to UCL providing materials to Oxford and Warwick, where they are being used in battery electrode studies (Oxford) and scale up (Warwick). The Industrial Advisory Group has been attended by Jaguar Land Rover, Johnson Matthey Batteries, NPL, and Yuasa. The project is already sharing data with Jaguar Land Rover.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Environment,Transport
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Chair of Advisory Board of Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research Stuttgart
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://www.mpg.de/153319/festkoerperforschung
 
Description Working group member of EASAC project on "Decarbonisation of Transport"
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://easac.eu/projects/details/decarbonisation-of-transport/
 
Description Joint UK-India Clean Energy Centre (JUICE)
Amount £5,094,437 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P003605/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2020
 
Description Korean academic visitor funded by Unist university
Amount £63,400 (GBP)
Organisation Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology 
Start 02/2019 
End 01/2020
 
Description Korean academic visitor funded by Unist university (2nd)
Amount £63,400 (GBP)
Organisation Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology 
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2019
 
Description Ecotricity Group Ltd 
Organisation Ecotricity
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Very promising discussions with Simon Crowfoot (Board Director). At this stage knowledge sharing with a view to future collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution Discussions about future plans, policy, current usage of the electric highway.
Impact Knowledge transfer. Early stages of collaboration.
Start Year 2016
 
Title Electric Vehicle Model 
Description A high level model of an electric vehicle powertrain. Written in Python3 with integration to MATLAB. Still being modified and enhanced. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Early stages. Expecting to be able to demonstrate, quantify and qualify the impact of varying battery chemistry and configurations, supercapacitor hybridisation and more. 
URL https://github.com/howroyd/ELEVATE
 
Title Supercapacitor Tester 
Description An Arduino based device capable of measuring capacitance of high Farad devices. Also capable of autonomously testing voltage rebound at open circuit after programmable charge durations. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Enhanced testing capability of high Farad supercapacitors. 
 
Description "Decarbonising UK Energy" Joint Royal Society/RAEng/BA meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talks and discussions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2017/10/decarbonising-uk-energy/
 
Description Interview - Peter Bruce interviewed by the Financial Times 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview - Peter Bruce interviewed by the Financial Times, 16 Aug 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited talk at MEP-2018, Fudan University, Shanghai China, 20-23 Sept 2018, title: Lithium Batteries 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited talk at MEP-2018, Fudan University, Shanghai China, 20-23 Sept 2018, title: Lithium Batteries
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018