Design and high throughput microwave synthesis of Li-ion battery materials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Chemistry

Abstract

Declining fossil fuel reserves and ever-increasing demands for energy make developments in energy storage capabilities vital. Battery usage is becoming increasingly widespread, but this is presenting new challenges due to materials scarcity and limitations in battery performance. It is vital that the increased exploitation of existing battery materials and the development of next generation batteries proceeds through sustainable approaches.

We propose to deliver a continuous, scaled-up route for the preparation of next generation battery materials. We will exploit the efficiency of microwave reactors with a high throughput approach to deliver a 'greener' route to existing battery materials. In parallel to this we will explore the opportunities of integration of battery components into polymeric matrices to allow rapid, high accuracy materials deposition to deliver exceptionally high quality devices capable of safely integrating the higher energy density materials of the future.

We have targeted specific materials that have known function as cathodes, anodes or electrolytes and will deliver bulk quantities of these whilst investigating related materials designed with optimised properties. State-of-the art computational approaches to materials exploration in silico will run in close collaboration with the synthetic teams in order to give a fast, iterative process of materials discovery, investigation and exploitation.

The multiple electrochemical, structural and compositional changes that occur during battery operation must be understood in order to exploit these materials in a safe, reliable manner so that devices can be delivered to end users. The team will bring their extensive experience to bear on these problems to carry out the full structural, compositional and electrochemical analysis of these materials, vital in delivering reliable performance. Expertise in probing the local structure will allow us to generate insights into the nature of the electrochemical interfaces between anode/electrode/cathode. These are the regions where materials are at the limits of their (electro)chemical stability and so this understanding will allow us to find and then improve the limits of materials' performance in operando.

Planned Impact

Global warming, carbon emissions and depletion of fossil fuels are regularly featured in our news streams and it is critical we find solutions to these impending problems. Li-ion batteries now power our portable devices and have begun to emerge as alternatives for hybrid electric and electric vehicles, making the potential impact of our research far-reaching given current global energy demands. The anticipated tripling of global energy consumption by the year 2100 means that any advances we make in the field of Li-ion battery energy storage as part of this SUPERGEN project will have a clear economic impact, as improvements in current energy storage in terms of energy and power densities must be made for expansion in the growing HEV market.

The project's vision is focused on tackling the challenges of providing next generation energy storage devices, from initial materials design and synthesis through to device manufacture. State-of-the-art advanced characterisation techniques, including local structural and dynamical probes, and a host of high level computational methods will be employed to guide the microwave-assisted synthetic design of Li-ion battery materials. The project will exploit the close connections with the solid state and the computational materials science and engineering communities. Academic results will be conveyed to major industrial partners (Johnston Matthey) as well as UK small medium enterprises (SMEs). Feedback of our findings to the research community and energy-related industry will have enormous economic impact in terms of (a) synthetic design of energy materials and (b) meeting global energy requirements through scaled-up synthesis and device development. This will help to preserve the UK position at the forefront of Li ion battery technology, generating UK jobs and economic growth. Our fundamental efforts will underpin this progress.

Our consortium represents a assembly of established world-leading research teams and emerging investigators from across the UK with excellent early track records in materials and energy-related research. The unique mix of expertise from materials design and synthesis, modelling and simulations, device integration and manufacture and to advanced characterisation techniques is key in tackling the challenges highlighted in the Case for Support. A major outcome of this SUPERGEN proposal will be people impact in terms of career development of emerging project partners and the three PDRAs who will be hired as a result of this funding. Knowledge dissemination will also be achieved through conference organisation and presentation of our work at national and international conferences.

The Pathways to Impact document highlights four routes to impact on our ambition of providing the next generation of energy storage devices; i) building a critical mass of research expertise between our institutions, ii) provision of an excellent multi-site research environment for PDRAs, iii) public engagement by increasing awareness of battery technologies through training, publications, IP and outreach and iv) industrial engagement by providing useful targets and insights for industry and manufacturers.

Publications

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Amores M (2018) NaLaTeO: Na conduction in a novel Na-rich double perovskite. in Chemical communications (Cambridge, England)

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Ashton TE (2015) Microwave-assisted synthesis and electrochemical evaluation of VO2 (B) nanostructures. in Acta crystallographica Section B, Structural science, crystal engineering and materials

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El-Shinawi H (2017) Enhancement of the lithium ion conductivity of Ta-doped LiLaZrO by incorporation of calcium. in Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003)

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/N001982/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2018 £1,221,082
EP/N001982/2 Transfer EP/N001982/1 01/10/2018 30/03/2020 £366,507
 
Description We have developed new methods for the solution based synthesis of complex oxide materials which can be employed either as solid electrolytes or electrodes for Li- and Na-ion batteries. These methods are vital for realising next generation storage, e.g. safer all solid state batteries. We have shown that microwave methods allow us to obtain phase pure materials at lower temperatures and shorter reaction times than conventional methods. We also show that this method affords materials with excellent ion diffusion properties, e.g. garnet solid electrolytes and olivine-based positive electrodes, and we evidence this by employing a suite of characterisation tools to understand this, including total scattering, neutron and x-ray diffraction, impedance analysis, and muon spectroscopy, as well as battery cell testing.
Exploitation Route We are now employing these synthetic approaches for the scaled up microwave synthesis of energy materials. We have an industrial partner, Johnson Matthey, who are interested in these developments for high throughput synthesis.
Sectors Energy,Environment

URL https://corrgroupsheffield.com/
 
Title Enhancement of the lithium ion conductivity of Ta-doped Li7La3Zr2O12 by incorporation of calcium 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Description SUPERGEN collaboration 
Organisation Johnson Matthey
Department Johnson Matthey Technology Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I am PI on a currently funded EPSRC Supergen Energy Storage grant which funds a consortium of researchers across the UK. We are working towards new materials for energy storage applications. My research teams contribution to this is to lead the synthetic workpackages and advanced characterisation workpackages of this programme of research. In my capacity as PI, I lead this project and coordinate all project activities and meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Partners at Loughborough and UCL lead the computational workpackages of this project. Partners at Strathclyde contribute to the synthetic workpackages and partners at Strathclyde, Oxford and STFC each contribute to specific aspects of the advanced characterisation workpackages. Our industrial partner, Johnson Matthey, contributes their time and expertise in industrially relevant aspects of the project and also host all project partners at their facilities.
Impact One manuscript at the moment, with several more in preparation: M. Amores, T. E. Ashton, P. J. Baker, E. J. Cussen, and S. A. Corr Fast microwave-assisted synthesis of Li-stuffed garnets and insights into Li diffusion from muon spin spectroscopy J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, 4, 1729. DOI
Start Year 2015
 
Description SUPERGEN collaboration 
Organisation Loughborough University
Department Department of Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am PI on a currently funded EPSRC Supergen Energy Storage grant which funds a consortium of researchers across the UK. We are working towards new materials for energy storage applications. My research teams contribution to this is to lead the synthetic workpackages and advanced characterisation workpackages of this programme of research. In my capacity as PI, I lead this project and coordinate all project activities and meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Partners at Loughborough and UCL lead the computational workpackages of this project. Partners at Strathclyde contribute to the synthetic workpackages and partners at Strathclyde, Oxford and STFC each contribute to specific aspects of the advanced characterisation workpackages. Our industrial partner, Johnson Matthey, contributes their time and expertise in industrially relevant aspects of the project and also host all project partners at their facilities.
Impact One manuscript at the moment, with several more in preparation: M. Amores, T. E. Ashton, P. J. Baker, E. J. Cussen, and S. A. Corr Fast microwave-assisted synthesis of Li-stuffed garnets and insights into Li diffusion from muon spin spectroscopy J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, 4, 1729. DOI
Start Year 2015
 
Description SUPERGEN collaboration 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I am PI on a currently funded EPSRC Supergen Energy Storage grant which funds a consortium of researchers across the UK. We are working towards new materials for energy storage applications. My research teams contribution to this is to lead the synthetic workpackages and advanced characterisation workpackages of this programme of research. In my capacity as PI, I lead this project and coordinate all project activities and meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Partners at Loughborough and UCL lead the computational workpackages of this project. Partners at Strathclyde contribute to the synthetic workpackages and partners at Strathclyde, Oxford and STFC each contribute to specific aspects of the advanced characterisation workpackages. Our industrial partner, Johnson Matthey, contributes their time and expertise in industrially relevant aspects of the project and also host all project partners at their facilities.
Impact One manuscript at the moment, with several more in preparation: M. Amores, T. E. Ashton, P. J. Baker, E. J. Cussen, and S. A. Corr Fast microwave-assisted synthesis of Li-stuffed garnets and insights into Li diffusion from muon spin spectroscopy J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, 4, 1729. DOI
Start Year 2015
 
Description SUPERGEN collaboration 
Organisation University College London
Department Department of Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am PI on a currently funded EPSRC Supergen Energy Storage grant which funds a consortium of researchers across the UK. We are working towards new materials for energy storage applications. My research teams contribution to this is to lead the synthetic workpackages and advanced characterisation workpackages of this programme of research. In my capacity as PI, I lead this project and coordinate all project activities and meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Partners at Loughborough and UCL lead the computational workpackages of this project. Partners at Strathclyde contribute to the synthetic workpackages and partners at Strathclyde, Oxford and STFC each contribute to specific aspects of the advanced characterisation workpackages. Our industrial partner, Johnson Matthey, contributes their time and expertise in industrially relevant aspects of the project and also host all project partners at their facilities.
Impact One manuscript at the moment, with several more in preparation: M. Amores, T. E. Ashton, P. J. Baker, E. J. Cussen, and S. A. Corr Fast microwave-assisted synthesis of Li-stuffed garnets and insights into Li diffusion from muon spin spectroscopy J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, 4, 1729. DOI
Start Year 2015
 
Description SUPERGEN collaboration 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Department of Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am PI on a currently funded EPSRC Supergen Energy Storage grant which funds a consortium of researchers across the UK. We are working towards new materials for energy storage applications. My research teams contribution to this is to lead the synthetic workpackages and advanced characterisation workpackages of this programme of research. In my capacity as PI, I lead this project and coordinate all project activities and meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Partners at Loughborough and UCL lead the computational workpackages of this project. Partners at Strathclyde contribute to the synthetic workpackages and partners at Strathclyde, Oxford and STFC each contribute to specific aspects of the advanced characterisation workpackages. Our industrial partner, Johnson Matthey, contributes their time and expertise in industrially relevant aspects of the project and also host all project partners at their facilities.
Impact One manuscript at the moment, with several more in preparation: M. Amores, T. E. Ashton, P. J. Baker, E. J. Cussen, and S. A. Corr Fast microwave-assisted synthesis of Li-stuffed garnets and insights into Li diffusion from muon spin spectroscopy J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, 4, 1729. DOI
Start Year 2015
 
Description SUPERGEN collaboration 
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Department Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am PI on a currently funded EPSRC Supergen Energy Storage grant which funds a consortium of researchers across the UK. We are working towards new materials for energy storage applications. My research teams contribution to this is to lead the synthetic workpackages and advanced characterisation workpackages of this programme of research. In my capacity as PI, I lead this project and coordinate all project activities and meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Partners at Loughborough and UCL lead the computational workpackages of this project. Partners at Strathclyde contribute to the synthetic workpackages and partners at Strathclyde, Oxford and STFC each contribute to specific aspects of the advanced characterisation workpackages. Our industrial partner, Johnson Matthey, contributes their time and expertise in industrially relevant aspects of the project and also host all project partners at their facilities.
Impact One manuscript at the moment, with several more in preparation: M. Amores, T. E. Ashton, P. J. Baker, E. J. Cussen, and S. A. Corr Fast microwave-assisted synthesis of Li-stuffed garnets and insights into Li diffusion from muon spin spectroscopy J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, 4, 1729. DOI
Start Year 2015