ISCF Wave 1: High Power Material Hybridised Battery (HiPoBat)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey


In general, batteries offer high energy density but low power density, with the disadvantage of running the risk of thermal runaway and fast ageing at high rates of operation. Supercapacitors, on the other hand, offer high power densities and theoretically millions of charge-discharge cycles but can store lower energy density than the batteries. The specifications of many HEV and EV power/energy storage systems and energy storage associated with the grid and renewables would be best satisfied by a battery-supercapacitor system. The supercapacitor would also prolong the battery lifetime and lower the risk of thermal runaway in batteries, as the supercapacitor would undertake the high current part of operation. However, the system of battery-supercapacitor connected in parallel suffers from the problem that while the voltage of the battery could remain constant for a long time of discharge, the voltage of supercapacitor falls linearly. This means that a DC/DC converter is needed which adds to weight, space, cost, complexity and lowers the efficiency. The HiPoBat project proposes a novel battery hybridised with high power electrode material at micro- and nano-level, with self-regulated voltage to a high and wide plateau, improved safety and prolonged lifetime. Innovative materials will be designed and manufactured in this project so that intelligent synergetic effects of high power and high energy material features raise both power and energy density above the sum of the individual components. HiPoBat cells will be fabricated and tested and will be subjected to many iterations of fine-tuning of material design and manufacture, also with the help of modelling and simulations. Finally, the technology will be scaled up to a large prismatic cell.
HiPoBat meets the ISCF objectives as follows:
OBJECTIVE 1: increased UK businesses' investment in R&D and improved R&D capability and capacity. IAG members have invested R&D funds in the project areas and will participate in cross-fertilisation of R&D ideas. Business staff secondment at UniS and training of PDRAs, PhD, MSc and UG project students in HiPoBat will contribute to a future business workforce trained in key areas of energy storage for EVs, HEVs and the grid.
OBJECTIVE 2: increased multi- and interdisciplinary research around the challenge areas. HiPoBat covers all scales from chemical groups, to micro-features of electrode coatings and cells to the macro-scale of cell and energy storage system. With the Chemistry and Materials/Chemical and Mechanical Engineering background of the Investigators, respectively, and multi-disciplinary backgrounds of the IAG and SUPERGEN Hub, HiPoBat fulfils the multi- and inter-disciplinary objective: it marries equivalent electric circuit, material, cell and energy storage system design with material synthesis and processing, cell fabrication and testing.
OBJECTIVE 3: increased business-academic engagement on innovation activities relating to the challenge areas. Such activities include staff exchanges and business staff secondment at UniS, collaboration in innovation activities, participation of business members at HiPoBat project meetings, SUPERGEN meetings and other Open Dissemination seminars, and business involvement in exploitation activities of the HiPoBat outcomes via participation in patent activity, cell scale up and future projects to advance the TRL level of HiPoBat.
OBJECTIVE 4: increased collaboration between younger, smaller companies and larger, more established companies up the value chain. To be realised by the IAG composition and the interdisciplinary nature of HiPoBat.
OBJECTIVE 5: increased overseas investment in R&D in the UK. HiPoBat is a follow on of the EC- funded project AUTOSUPERCAP and with our EC and international industrial and academic links, it is envisaged that it will lead to more EC- and internationally-funded projects including UK IAG members, with opportunities of overseas investment in UK business.

Planned Impact

Our Research Vision is to develop a novel high power material hybridised battery through intelligent material design to maximise the synergetic effects of the high energy and high power material features so that the optimised design achieves higher performance than just the sum of the parts in terms of both power density (2-5 kW/kg) and energy density (100-180 Wh/kg) and a wide and high voltage plateau, as well as increased safety, cycling ability and lifetime. WP5 includes the fabrication and testing of a scaled up cell (Month 30-36) which is expected to accelerate industrial impact.

The application of our novel HiPoBat is aimed primarily towards the transport sector (EVs, xEVs and HEVs in terms of cars and buses) which is associated with CO2 and pollution reduction, as well as the energy storage in the grid which will maximise the renewables energy used and satisfy the demand profile. Hence, the impact of our project encompasses environmental, health and societal aspects. Furthermore, the novel HiPoBat will increase the safety of batteries and reduce the number of related-accidents. It will also prolong the battery lifetime, which means lower costs.

Our research project offers academic impact as our research will be used and elaborated by other academic groups to design and optimise new battery materials and devices. It offers enormous advantages to battery manufacturers and battery system manufacturers, as well as manufacturers of EVs, HEVs, xEVs, and energy storage plant manufacturers and grid operators. It will also open new avenues to material manufacturers to develop new businesses associated with our new materials and electrode materials. We shall have a wide range of industrial companies in our Industrial Advisory Group (IAG) across the full supply chain, so our research will have strong industrial impact. We shall also apply for patents and exploit the IPR through agreements with companies. We shall be part of the Supergen Energy Storage Hub and we also have close collaboration with NPL, which means we shall be able to disseminate our findings widely within the academic and industrial world. We shall also organise an Open Dissemination workshop in Month 25 of the project.


10 25 50
Description It has been modelled that an optimised configuration and composition of battery-supercapacitor hybridised at material level increases the power density of the battery while the battery is protected against experiencing current above its degradation/safety threshold.

Experimental work included fabrication and testing of the following with key findings as outlined in each case:
(a) LFP-graphite full and half-battery cells with LiPF6 organic solvent electrolyte; testing showed that the full expected capacity was reached for both coin cells and cells housed in our own designed cell holder.

(b) Activated carbon (AC) coating-based supercapacitors with the same LiPF6 organic solvent electrolyte as above; testing established the maximum voltage window for such cells.

(c) Battery-supercapacitor cells hybridised at electrode material level for both cathode and anode, as in the electrodes of (a) and (b) above, respectively, and with the same LiPF6 organic solvent electrolyte. Testing yielded promising results and confirmed our plans for the next hybrid cells.

Our secondment from NPL created an app for the modelling of the HiPoBat cells. We have been using this app for modelling and optimisation of the design of our new HiPobat cells.

We have now developed a novel cell design that combines battery and supercapacitor materials and maintains the battery voltage plateau in both charge and discharge, without the need for a DC/DC converted. We have been cycling the final device demonstrator and expecting to obtain final results.
Exploitation Route The next step is for us to optimise the supercapacitor-material element, so that it can combine better with the battery-material element. We have put a plan to carry out the optimisation in two steps (which we are optimising in parallel, via the work of our two PDRAs): (a) 3d cell architecture; (b) add pseudocapacitance to the supercapacitor material to increase the energy density of the supercapacitor material.

The principle and findings of our project would be of immediate application to batteries with mesoporous carbon electrodes, such as Li-S batteries (mesoporous carbon hosts in sulphur composite cathodes) and Li-air batteries. We are working on Li-S batteries and have included this principle and findings of HiPoBat in proposals to get funded for a project on Li-S battery (including our proposal for the Phase 2 Call by EPSRC/ISCF, Faraday Institute, for which we hope we might be selected to the full proposal stage). This project has now been funded, LiSTAr project, so all our work for Li-S battery cells has been transferred to LiSTAr.
HiPoBat continues with scaling up LFP-based HiPoBat cells and with research to improve the capacitance/pseudocapacitance of the supercapacitor part of HiPoBat cell.

We believe that there are two avenues that we shall pursue after the grant ends: (1) collaboration with industry to adopt the HiPoBat concept in power/energy systems by eliminating the need of DC/DC converter. (b) seek further funding to increase the energy performance of supercapacitors, in collaboration with colleagues with ideas of decoration and functionalisation with novel materials (some of these materials have been recently tested with promising results).
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Transport

Description LiSTAr
Amount £1,266,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Faraday Institution 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2019 
End 09/2023
Title App for HiPoBat modelling 
Description Our NPL secondment created a software app for the modelling of a HiPobat battery cell. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact We have been using it to design and optimise our HiPoBat cell design. We shall proceed to publications submission to journal(s) later this year. 
Title Battery test cell 
Description Battery test cell: drawings developed by PDRA Dr Matthew Phillips and actual cell made by the mechanical workshop at the University of Surrey. The battery test cell is totally sealed and is suitable for both batteries and supercapacitors. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Although the design is not published yet because we have not submitted any papers for publication yet (where the test cell was used), we intend to publish in the next two years of the project and the cell design will be included in the publication, so it will be made widely available then. 
Title Equivalent electric circuit model for battery, supercapacitor and hybrid 
Description An equivalent electric circuit model for battery and supercapacitor was developed, fitted and validated against experimental data for (a) a LiFePO4 battery (b) a supercapacitor. Then another model was developed for a hybrid device incorporating Xps supercapacitors in parallel, Xbs batteries in parallel, Xss supercapacitors in series, Xbs batteries in series. The model was used to design and simulate a HiPoBat device with different compositions and configurations of battery and supercapacitor-based material: simulations predicted the performance of such devices in galvanostatic charge-discharge at different levels of current density. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This comprised the first phase of our proposed research. We predicted that it is possible for such hybrid devices to protect the battery part from high current levels. The next phase of our work will be to verify this outcome in an experimental prototype according to the optimised design of such a hybrid device predicted by our model. 
Description Additional Project partner: BAE Systems 
Organisation BAE Systems
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution BAE Systems offered consultancy in terms of applications in their industry. We also developed a joint proposal with BAE Systems regarding a feasibility study for a battery-supercapacitor system (not hybridised at material level as HiPoBat, it is to be a hybrid simply at system level) that is currently under review by another UK funder (not EPSRC, not ISCF). If funded, that proposal contains proposed novel work on a low density electrolyte for supercapacitors and that proposed technique will also benefit and is applicable to HiPoBat. However, as we do not know yet whether this new proposal is to be funded, we cannot offer current contributions from this collaboration with BAE Systems.
Collaborator Contribution The contribution so far is that BAE Systems offered consultancy in terms of applications in their industry.
Impact No outputs yet.
Start Year 2018
Description Collaboration with Arkema S.A. 
Organisation Arkema
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are in the process of testing these binders in the manufacture of coatings for both anode and cathode.
Collaborator Contribution Arkema provided us with materials of two new PVDF-based binders that can be dissolved in more friendly solvents than NMP (typical solvent for common PVDF binder).
Impact We have not tested the coatings yet. We have just made them. So we have no outcomes to report at this stage. Only one discipline is really involved: materials processing. However, the outcomes would be useful to all disciplines involved in battery research and manufacture: chemistry, physics, materials, mechanical and chemical engineering, etc.
Start Year 2020
Description Collaboration with Hi-Energy Group, Korea 
Organisation HIENERGY KOREA Co., Ltd
Country Korea, Republic of 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Tested LFP powder material for the fabrication of electrode coatings
Collaborator Contribution Provided 500g of LFP powder free of charge
Impact LFP electrode demonstrated high capacity: 166 mAh/g, close to the theoretical capacity (170 mAh/g)
Start Year 2019
Title App for HiPoBat cell modelling 
Description Our secondment from NPL created an app for the modelling of our HiPoBat battery cells. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact We have been using this app for the design and optmisation of our HiPoBat cells. Journal paper publications are expected to be submitted later on in the year. 
Description Dissemination to the IAG (Industrial Advisory Group) of the Electrochemical Group at NPL (NPL is a project partner) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Project presentation at IAG at NPL at six-monthly meetings of the IAG.
Exchange of ideas with other members of IAG who also had project presentations in projects associated with NPL in the area of energy storage.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
Description One-day workshop on the "Modelling of Energy Storage Materials" ESM-2018 Modelling, University of Surrey, Guildford, 13 September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a one-day workshop about modelling and simulations of energy storage materials and devices, including batteries and supercapacitors. It was organised within the HiPoBat project, aiming at the dissemination of research and findings during the first year of HiPoBat, and also combine and debate the modelling work in HiPoBat with other models developed by other groups within UK. Most groups presented work funded by EPSRC under the Supergen umbrella and there was also work presented by NPL, who is one of the industrial collaborators of HiPoBat.
Programme involved the following talks (30 minutes each):
Dr Constantina Lekakou, University of Surrey: "Modelling of electrochemical transport in supercapacitors" A continuum, volume-averaged model will be presented including pore size distribution of the electrode material. Simulation results will be compared against experimental data.
Dr Duo Zhang, University of Surrey: "Toward electrode design for redox flow batteries using a 3D pore-scale lattice Boltzmann model"
Ms Dina Ibrahim Abouelamaiem, University College London (UCL): "Establishing an equivalent series circuit for porous carbon-based supercapacitors" using a truncated version of the standard transmission line model.
Dr Teng Zhang, University of Surrey: "Mechanistic modelling of Li-S batteries"
Mr Josh Bates, PhD student, University of Surrey: "Modelling of electrochemical transport in a Li-S battery" using a continuum, volume-averaged model with a pore size distribution of the electrode material.
Mr Josh Bates, PhD student, University of Surrey: "Modelling of electrochemical transport in a Li-O2 battery" using a continuum, volume-averaged model with a pore size distribution of the electrode material.
Dr Emilia Olsson, University of Surrey: "First principle simulations of the adsorption, intercalation, and migration of alkaline metals (Li/Na/K) in carbon-based battery electrode materials"
Dr Benjamin Morgan, University of Bath: "DFT molecular dynamics simulations of solid-lithium-ion electrolytes: Understanding structure-conductivity relationships"
Dr Edmund Dickinson, National Physical Laboratory (NPL): "Continuum modelling of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) using Li-ion test cells"
Dr Matthew Phillips, University of Surrey: "Modelling and design of a LiFePO4 battery-supercapacitor hybridised at material level" using equivalent electrical circuit models.

Each talk was followed by questions and discussion. The main impact of this workshop was that researchers and industry attendees had the opportunity to discover and explore the different models for electrochemical storage across different scales, discuss relationships between models, and come up with ideas for avenues of future modelling and simulations work that would be of mutual benefit across multiple research groups with Supergen and compatible with work undertaken by the industry. Furthermore, there was a lab tour of the relevant experimental facilities at the University of Surrey; invitations were extended by other groups to reciprocate the visit and for wider collaboration. There were also requests to repeat the workshop yearly at the University of Surrey. In particular, this request came from postdoctoral researchers of other universities who appreciated the opportnuniy to present their work and exchange ideas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Participation at the Meetings of the IAG (Industrial Advisory Group) of the Electrochemical Energy Group at NPL 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Quarterly meetings of IAG at NPL, where we present key findings and ongoing progress of HiPoBat project to mainly industrial members from the batteries sector (e.g. Johnson Matthey), application sectors (e.g. Dyson) and Energy companies (e.g. Intelligent Energy, Arcola Energy, ITM Power, etc).
We also advise about the current state-of-the-art in batteries and supercapacitors, areas requiring further development and topics for future R&D within research institutions, NPL, and industry. We also try to identify partnerships for knowledge transfer to the industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
Description Poster and support of UniS stand at Materials Research Exchange 2018, KTN UK Innovate 
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 Poster at UniS stand and presence of PDRA at stand to discuss the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Presentation about the HiPoBat project and results so far by PDRA Dr Matthew Phillips at Departmental Research Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation about the HiPoBat project and results so far by PDRA Dr Matthew Phillips at Departmental Research Meeting.
Further to the members of the department, researchers and industrial supervisors from the CDT MiNMat at UniS also attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Project Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Project meeting with all project partners and extra members from the industrial community on batteries and EVs. Final year undergraduate students, MEng and PhD students with associated projects also attended the meeting and had presentations.
At the meeting the project work and results so far were presented, as well results from associated student projects.

Dr Edmund Dickinson, from NPL, seconded to the HiPoBat project also attended the meeting, made his own contributions, and discussed his further future work on the project. Such work was planned for the next quarter. We gave Dr Dickinson the project experimental results so far to use for his modelling in COMSOL.

He also obtained from NPL more advice that he passed to us with respect to characterisation of our tested/cycled electrodes, and suggested a protocol to prepare them for postmortem characterisation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019