Centre for Advanced Materials for Integrated Energy Systems (CAM-IES)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

The Centre of Advanced Materials for Integrated Energy Systems (CAM-IES) is a partnership between four UK universities, Cambridge, Newcastle, Queen Mary and University College London, focused on the development of advanced materials for energy conversion and energy storage based on solid-state, higher voltage, and flow batteries, solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), CO2 gas separation membranes, hybrid thin film photovoltaics (PVs) and large-area thermoelectrics for future renewable and clean energy systems. The overarching goal of CAM-IES it to help build a UK-wide community of cross-disciplinary materials researchers focused on energy applications. We target off-grid/grid-tied applications, large-/grid-scale centralised energy generation and storage and energy solutions for mobile internet communication technologies.

CAM-IES will provide a forum for scientific collaboration and exchange as well as access to state-of-the art characterisation and growth equipment to the wider UK energy materials community, in particular the unique facilities of the Sir Henry Royce Institute currently being installed in Cambridge. We exploit currently unexplored synergies between these different energy fields, and combine fundamental energy materials research aimed at making significant scientific breakthroughs, including, discovery of new materials, understanding and controlling interfaces, novel integrated device concepts, achieving enhanced device performances, all with strong industry engagement. The latter will include early shaping workshops with industrial partners to identify requirements for materials in specific applications and the establishment of effective methods for evaluating new materials discoveries for industrial scale-up.

The research programmes are focused around six work packages (WPs), aimed at addressing key scientific challenges for each of the devices, e.g., ionic transport across interfaces in solid state batteries and SOFCs membranes, increased efficiency in PVs, and methods for self-assembly in thermoelectrics. WP6 directly attacks the challenges associated with the integration of new materials into working devices and optimising their performance. An overarching theme is to pioneer new metrologies to characterise interfaces under operando conditions, including NMR, magnetic resonance imaging and transmission electron microscopy and pulsed isotope exchange methods. Integration of different devices is enabled by the development of a bespoke tool to enable the controlled deposition and integration of a wide range of low-temperature battery, SOFC, solar cell and thermoelectric materials in a common, inert processing environment. The scope of the work and academic/industrial participation with be expanded via three flexible funding calls, with topics including emerging new research areas, industry driven/partnered, and materials integration research.

We will provide UK academia and businesses with a forum for knowledge exchange and collaboration, coupled with access to world-class facilities to accelerate new concepts to commercial reality. The development of strong modes of collaborative working and networking between individual EPSRC Centres for Advanced Materials for Energy Generation and Transmission, together with our University partners, industry and stakeholder groups, is an important goal. A series of high visibility symposia and workshops involving all the stakeholders, to identify synergies between the EPSRC Advanced Materials Centres and key industry challenges, to disseminate research findings to the community and to train users on CAM-IES facilities, is a key strategy to identify and engage users and disseminate results. We will provide support for students and PDRAs from outside the 4 original partner universities to attend these events and use CAM-IES equipment. Strategic advice to Centre will be provided by a broad and highly experienced, international advisory board from industry and academia.

Planned Impact

As outlined in detail in the Case for Support and Pathways to Impact statement in all of the five energy applications (solid-state and redox-flow batteries, solid-oxide fuel cells, membranes for gas separation, high efficiency photovoltaics and solar thermoelectric generators) we are aiming to achieve significant breakthroughs in terms of discovery of new materials with increased performance and novel device concepts. Since all technologies pursued have the potential of making significant contributions to reducing CO2 emissions on a timescale of 5-10 years, there are very clear potential societal benefits beyond immediate economic impacts.

The research will lead to fundamental intellectual property which will be protected and exploited following well-established technology transfer processes at the participating Universities using the services provided by their respective technology transfer offices (TTOs). We have a strong network of industrial partners affiliated with the Centre (as evidenced in the letters of support). These companies will directly benefit from the research results and will be natural exploitation pathways. However, these are not exclusive relationships and we will actively seek to engage a wider range of industrial partners through our programme of targeted workshops and symposia. The Centre will contribute to making the UK a world-leader in advanced materials for clean, renewable energy systems.
Our impact strategy recognises that some of our results, perhaps the most valuable and disruptive ones in the long term, will not fit within a simple linear technology transfer model as they will be at a low technology readiness level, requiring significant further research and development resources to establish commercial viability. We recognise, in particular, the crucial role played by the High Value Manufacturing and the Energy Systems Catapult in bridging between fundamental materials research and industrial development, and we intend to intensify our collaborations with both Catapults and will provide them with new materials technologies for scale-up and prototyping.

A key impact of CAM-IES will be to link the UK-wide community of cross-disciplinary materials researchers focused on energy applications and provide UK academia and businesses with a forum for knowledge exchange and collaboration. The Centre sits at a very interesting and important interface between key strategic initiatives, such as the Supergen hubs in Energy Storage, Solar Power and Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, that are currently not well connected and where we see significant potential for better exploiting synergies. The Centre will facilitate access to world-class facilities to the wider UK energy materials community, including, in particular, facilitated access to a £10 million capital investment in energy materials' characterisation and processing equipment that is part of Cambridge's participation in the Sir Henry Royce Institute. Recognising that significant progress requires sustained funding for research and development at multiple TR levels, the Centre will provide a platform from which to apply for future funding, to increase impact across the board in these strategic areas.

Further benefits achieved from the Centre will be the training of researchers. The Centre will develop the careers of at least 9 directly funded postdocs and at least 14 affiliated PhD students and provide them with unique multidisciplinary skills in energy science and technology. Outreach activities to the general public will also have a high profile. All investigators have strong track records in public engagement and outreach to young people and the general public and will continue to inspire the public at an influential level on energy related societal challenges and opportunities.

Publications

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Fallon K (2019) Exploiting Excited-State Aromaticity To Design Highly Stable Singlet Fission Materials in Journal of the American Chemical Society

 
Description Contribution to Royal Society Policy Documents
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
 
Description Presentation to an All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group event
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact Helped shape grid storage policy.
 
Title Dataset supporting "Fully Printed Organic-Inorganic Nanocomposites for Flexible Thermoelectric Applications" 
Description This data is collected from the labs of Device Materials Group, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge, in which the measurements were taken between October 2016 to March 2018. The data contains the EDX spectra, XRD pattern, thermoelectric properties measurements, flexing test measurements, and sample dimension measurements. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Description Announcement of funding call at RFB Network Forum meeting at Manchester Matropolitan University, 26 June 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Clare Grey gave a talk to announce the launch of the CAM-IES 2017 funding call for short projects on any aspect of redox flow batteries. The majority of the UK redox flow community were in attendance at the RFB Network meeting, do the advertisement of the call reached many potential participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description CAM-IES symposium on Photovoltaics and Thermoelectrics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The purpose of the workshop was to bring together the photovoltaic and energy harvesting communities, featuring talks relevant to both themes. Discussion sessions enabled both groups to interact. An audience vote was held on the the next workshop topic to be held (industry workshop on the Internet of Things).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Chair of IoT Meeting, 12 April, Cambridge 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Chair of the CAM-IES Industry Workshop on Energy Harvesting for Sensors and IoT, held at Trinity College, Cambridge on 12 April 2018. Talks were given by speakers from ARM, CDT, Perpetuum, Lightricity, wordl-leading companies in IoT and energy harvesting. The workshop was to bring industry and academic researchers together to agree on metrics, performance targets, and how to bring basic research into downstream product development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cam-ies-industry-workshop-on-energy-harvesting-tickets-40779069294
 
Description Chair of student and early career scientist event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Chaired a day of non-technical presentations of research work and impact by early career scientists at "CAM-IES Science Day"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Discussion Meeting (Royal Society) on energy materials 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Invited talk and discussion session on "Energy materials for a low carbon future", held at the Royal Society
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2018/09/low-carbon-future/
 
Description Discussion at UK Redox Flow Network Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Discussion panel at second annual UK Redox Flow Battery Network Meeting, where the research community explored challenges in the field and methods for collaboration to overcome such challenges, increase visibility of the research field, attract further funding, generate commercial ventures etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://sites.google.com/view/ukrfbnetwork/home
 
Description Discussion panel at AIP/CAM-IES Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Chairing talks and participation in discussion panel at AIP/CAM-IES Conference on Interfaces in Energy Materials, Trinity College Cambridge, 10-12 April 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://horizons.aip.org/energymaterials/
 
Description Early career research talks, CAM-IES Autumn Symposium, QMUL, 21 September 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Technical workshop for young researchers featuring talks, posters and networking sessions. Delegates joined the CAM-IES UK community of energy materials researchers. Travel bursaries were provided to all students and postdocs outside of the London area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Interview on BBC World Service programme "Click" (August, 2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Was interviewed on BBC World Service programme "Click" (August, 2018) about fast charging of batteries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cswhdm
 
Description Interview on Radio 4 Programme "The Life Scientific", March 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Was interviewed in "The Life Scientific" Radio 4 Programme on "The Big Battery Challenge", March 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09tdr0r
 
Description Opened the New Chemistry Building at Lancaster University, October 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Opened the New Chemistry Building at Lancaster University, October 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Plenary talk at International Battery Association Meeting, San Diego, March 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Gave plenary talk at the International Battery Association Meeting, San Diego, March 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://iba-2019.org/
 
Description Presentation to an All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation to an All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group event, 'Energy storage and the transition to a low carbon economy', Houses of Parliament, London, July 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.policyconnect.org.uk/appccg/news/energy-storage-and-transition-low-carbon-economy-summary
 
Description Radio 4 Programme on Mitigating Air Pollution in Cities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact "Putting Science to Work" Radio 4 Programme on Mitigating Air Pollution in Cities, with Jim Al-Khalili. As described in the BBC website: As the recent VW scandal reminds us, the exhaust from petrol and, in particular, diesel cars are damaging our health. So what can science do to help? Jim Al-Khalili invites three scientists into the studio to explain how their research or technology could help reduce pollution from dirty car exhausts. Professor of Chemistry, Tony Ryan makes the case for smart materials that absorb noxious gases. If only everyone could treat their jeans with nanoparticles that that clean up the air as they walk around town. Professor Clare Grey and her team are working on the next generation of batteries for electric cars. And engineer, Bernard Porter is a champion of hydrogen fuel cells. So, which technology is best designed to help us reduce air pollution in our cities? Who deserves the lion's share of Jim's imaginary pot of research funding to help us tackle this problem?. Outcome - lion share of funding allocated to CPG
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06rxyct
 
Description Seminar series at CAM-IES Launch event, 11 May 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As part of the CAM-IES launch event (70 delegates), two events were held: (1) a training seminar series was held for postgraduate students and early career postdocs on the subjects of "in situ TEM", "in operando NMR", "modelling and theory of interfaces", "interfacial phenomena in batteries". The attendees form part of the CAM-IES community of energy materials researchers. (2) an industry discussion event to assess the needs of CAM-IES industrial partners, to decide on collaboration strategies, and to foster interactions that may attract further funding.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017