The Calcium-Air Battery

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

Energy storage in the form of rechargeable batteries is becoming increasingly important for a range of applications and devices including transportation and grid reserves. Alkaline earth metal-oxygen batteries using the earth abundant metals, such as calcium as the anode and calcium cations as the charge carrier present a low cost and easily raw material resourced high energy storage battery system. They offer much greater energy storage a than present day batteries, such as lithium ion, in addition to their abundance worldwide. In order to achieve progress in the field of calcium based batteries and their subsequent development, mechanistic understanding of the cell chemistry and the required materials, and cell structure, needs to be understood. To evaluated the feasibility of a battery system based upon calcium within the project we will construct Lab-scale test cells that will be tested under an oxygen atmosphere.

Planned Impact

Research into calcium based batteries has the potential to make a significant impact academically initially & ultimately economically. The programme has huge longer-term applied benefits in the areas of energy storage generating processes of relevance to the chemical & engineering industries. This is confirmed via the letters of support from Johnson Matthey & Technical Fibre Products. From the start the above industrial partners will receive regular 3 monthly project updates for discussion with the project team, leading to personnel exchange and material evaluation as appropriate. All industrial project partners will be invited to sit on an Industrial Advisory Board that will meet at the beginning (month 1) at the middle (month 9) and at the end of the project (month 18) to discuss progress towards milestones (see project work plan). Beyond this group, we will work with the Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry (KCMC) to ensure the widest possible dissemination of relevant developments to UK chemicals-using and broader industry sectors. KCMC has supported 71 companies in over 100 projects, generating over £6M of industrial funding since 2009. KCMC thus has strong collaborative relationships with many UK-based chemical companies, providing a mechanism for advances in science emerging from the project to be evaluated and where appropriate taken forward for exploitation through engagement of the KCMC Knowledge Transfer (KT) team via individual discussion with companies and themed industry days, using case-study type summaries of both materials and methodologies emerging from the programme prepared by the KT team to maximise impact on potential users. IP will be protected by Business Gateway at ULIV. LJH has 1 patent filed via these mechanisms in the last 2 years. Project advances of societal interest will be disseminated via the ULIV press office, working with EPSRC as appropriate. The skills & contact network of the project PDRAs will be strongly enhanced by clos experiment/theory co-working in this science area, and engagement with the supporting companies and the industry network of KCMC.
The industrial beneficiaries will be chemical and engineering companies. In particular all project partners will benefit from hearing recent data on metal-air battery development, in particular Johnson Matthey will benefit from knowledge of materials required for the air-cathode and Technical Fibre Products will benefit from the evaluation of their carbon fibre materials in metal-air battery systems. Society will benefit from the trained personnel emerging from the programme equipped to contribute to UK industry in a high-tech sector. Longer term benefits will arise from the scientific advances enabling enhanced energy storage solutions through the generic impact of enhanced understanding and control of exciting new materials. This programme has long term benefits in reducing the UKs long term carbon dioxide emissions via transportation and as energy storage from renewables such as wind and solar. A very important area for new batteries technologies is in helping to meet the energy challenges of the 21st century, with batteries in particular contributing to energy storage requirements and also "electro-mobility". EPSRC has a strong energy theme, with relevant details laid out in the section "Underpinning Energy Research in Energy Storage Materials". A quarter of all manmade carbon dioxide emissions arise from transportation, any breakthroughs in battery technology regarding significant increases in energy storage (and therefore driving range) with lower cost would allow future electric vehicles (EVs) to become a more attractive to consumers.

Publications

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