Graphene nanotechnology charges onto the battery market

New graphene nanotechnology in batteries could reduce charging times, improve durability and boost energy density.

Jas Kandola, CEO of the Graphene Corporation, said his company has developed high-performance graphene-lithium batteries in a commercially viable way.

The firm, which has research, development and commercial operations based in both the UK and India, has created a “proven, unique and cost-efficient process for producing all grades of graphenes, graphene oxides and graphene composites”.

It has developed a battery designed to the specifications of a large mobile phone brand – it boasts an energy density up 45% higher than comparable lithium-ion options, a weight reduction of 30% and is able to reach 80% charge in only 20 minutes.

Full article here.

Centrica, Uber launch electric vehicle trial to monitor impact on UK energy grid

Thousands of electric vehicles are to be hooked up to Britain’s electricity grid to test its ability to cope with power fluctuations caused by a mass roll-out of the technology.

The trial of 3,000 of the vehicles in London and the South of England has been approved by Ofgem, Britain’s energy regulator, and is being led by Uber and Centrica, the owner of British Gas.

The cars will be on the road by the second half of next year and the trial will continue until 2022.  data will be collected about the distance traveled, the cost of trips, as well as the amount of energy consumed and the times of day at which vehicles were charged.

Full article here.

The world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) project has been given the go-ahead by energy regulator Ofgem.

The Optimise Prime project will look to bring together leading power, technology, fleet and transport companies to test and implement the best approaches to the EV rollout.

Spearheaded by data firm Hitachi Vantara and electricity distributor UK Power Networks, the trial will see up to 3,000 electric vehicles from Centrica, Uber and a large UK depot-based parcel carrier take to the road.

The project is sponsored by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), Hitachi Europe and Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions.

Full article here.

Nissan reveals plans for EV charging to second life ‘ecosystem’

Nissan, the Japanese vehicle OEM, announced plans on November 27 to create an energy storage ‘ecosystem’ where electric vehicles are used to power buildings and reused in a storage system.

The plan, called Nissan Energy, will also let the company build on its Intelligent Mobility strategy programmes launched in the US, Japan and Europe by developing new ways to reuse EV batteries.

The latest plan will establish new standards for connecting vehicles to energy systems through three initiatives: Nissan Energy Supply (vehicle charging), Nissan Energy Share (vehicle-to-grid/home/building applications) and Nissan Energy Storage (second-life battery pack applications).

Full article here.

Arsenal leads charge into battery power at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal has become the UK’s first football club to install large-scale battery energy storage, in a bid to cut electricity costs and support green energy.

Tucked in the basement of the Emirates, the system is capable of powering the 60,000-seat stadium for an entire match, or the equivalent of 2,700 homes for two hours.

The Gunners’ home is one of the biggest stadiums in the UK, with energy demand coming from refrigeration, full-time offices and growing lights to maintain the grass on the pitch. Consumption spikes on match days but not as much as in the past because of energy-efficient LED floodlights.

While other UK football clubs have installed solar panels and similar green measures, Arsenal is believed to be the first with large-scale storage.

Full article here.

Sustainability Assessment of Second Life Application of Automotive Batteries (SASLAB)

The fast increase of the electrified vehicles market will translate into an increase of waste batteries after their use in electrified vehicles (xEV). Once collected, batteries are usually recycled; however, their residual capacity (typically varying between 70% and 80% of the initial capacity) could be used in other applications before recycling. The interest in this topic of repurposing xEV batteries is currently high, as can be proven by numerous industrial initiatives by various types of stakeholders along the value chain of xEV batteries and by policy activities related to waste xEV batteries. SASLAB (Sustainability Assessment of Second Life Application of Automotive Batteries), an exploratory project led by JRC under its own initiative in 2016-2017, aims at assessing the sustainability of repurposing xEV batteries to be used in energy storage applications from technical, environmental and social perspectives. Information collected by stakeholders, open literature data and experimental tests for establishing the state of health of lithium-ion batteries (in particular LFP/Graphite, NMC/Graphite and LMO-NMC/Graphite based battery cells) represented the necessary background and input information for the assessment of the performances of xEV battery life cycle. Renewables (photovoltaics) firming, photovoltaics smoothing, primary frequency regulation, energy time shift and peak shaving are considered as the possible second-use stationary storage applications for analysis within SASLAB. Experimental tests were performed on both, new and aged cells. The majority of aged cells were disassembled from a battery pack of a used series production xEV. Experimental investigations aim at both, to understand better the performance of cells in second use after being dismissed from first use, and to provide input parameters for the environmental assessment model. The experimental tests are partially still ongoing and further results are expected to become available beyond the end of SASLAB project. To obtain an overview of the size of the xEV batteries flows along their life cycle, and hence to understand the potential size of repurposing activities in the future, a predictive and parametrized model was built and is ready to be updated according to new future data. The model allows to take into account also the (residual) capacity of xEV batteries and the (critical) raw materials embedded in the various type of xEV batteries. For the environmental assessment, an adapted life-cycle based method was developed and applied to different systems in order to quantify benefits/drawbacks of the adoption of repurposed xEV batteries in second-use applications. Data derived from laboratory tests and primary data concerning energy flows of the assessed applications were used as input for the environmental assessment. Under certain conditions, the assessment results depict environmental benefits related to the extension the xEV batteries’ lifetime through their second-use in the assessed applications. In the analysis, the importance of using primary data is highlighted especially concerning the energy flows of the system in combination with the characteristics of the battery used to store energy. A more comprehensive environmental assessment of repurposing options for xEV batteries will need to look at more cases (other battery chemistries, other reuse scenarios, etc.) to derive more extensive and firmer conclusions. Experimental work is being continued at the JRC and the availability of further data about the batteries’ performances could allow the extension of the assessment to different types of batteries in different second-use applications. A more complete sustainability assessment of the second-use of xEV batteries that could be useful to support EU policy development will also require more efforts in the future in terms of both the social and economic assessment.

Full paper here.

JRC exploratory research: Safer Li-ion batteries by preventing thermal propagation

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission organised a workshop under the umbrella of its Exploratory Research Programme. The Workshop titled: ‘Safer Li-ion batteries by preventing thermal propagation?’ was held at the Directorate C-Energy, Transport and Climate in Petten on 8-9 March 2018. The workshop offered a platform where leading experts exchanged ideas and research efforts on thermal propagation testing, new methodologies, policy and standardisation issues and brain-stormed on the potential impact of preventing thermal propagation on the safety testing landscape. The input of some of the major stakeholders from industry and research to this event proved very participative on the relevant technical issues discussed, and on the identification of improvements of existing testing methodologies and mitigation strategies. This technical report presents a summary of the main discussion points, conclusions and outcomes of the workshop as agreed by their presenters

Full paper here.

UK: Landmark ruling leads to the suspension of the UK Capacity Market

On 15 November 2018, the General Court (the EU’s lower-tier court) found in favour of Tempus Energy in its challenge against the 2014 European Commission decision to grant State aid approval to the UK Capacity Market (the “CM”). The decision means that all Capacity Market arrangements have now been suspended, pending a new and more detailed investigation by the European Commission into the State aid compliance of the arrangements.

Full article here.

Meet Michael, the Supercomputer Designed to Accelerate UK Research for EV Batteries

First research challenges include the fast-charging of batteries, low temperature operation and thermal management of cells within battery packs

HARWELL, UK (November 22, 2018) – A new supercomputer designed to speed up research on two of the UK’s most important battery research projects has been installed at University College London (UCL). The supercomputer is named Michael, after the UK’s most famous battery scientist, Michael Faraday.

Michael will flex its computing muscle to assist over 110 researchers focused on creating new models for battery systems and researching next-generation, solid-state batteries. The supercomputer offers much needed capacity to UK researchers who today are working to solve some of the thorniest problems in energy storage. The Faraday Institution, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, purchased the £1.6 million supercomputer.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said:

“This new supercomputer will be a valuable resource for the UK’s battery researchers, providing them with the insight necessary to improve battery performance and lifetime and reduce costs.

“UK Research and Innovation recognises the importance of access to world-leading infrastructure for academia and industry, and that resources such as the Michael supercomputer are central to our mission of pushing the frontiers of human knowledge and delivering economic and societal impact.”

Business Secretary, Greg Clark said:

“The UK is a world leader in battery technology and as part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we have spent nearly a quarter of a billion pounds backing the industry through the Faraday Institution.

Michael will be testament to proving our battery research capabilities and will help maintain the UK’s success in the electric vehicle sector, ensuring we reap the economic benefits in the global transition to a low carbon economy.”

Dr Jacqueline Edge of Imperial College London, and project lead of the Faraday Institution’s Multi-scale Modelling project, said:

“Our team is excited to have access to this new high-performance computer, fully dedicated to accelerating our battery research.

“This state-of-the-art facility will be crucial in accelerating the step-change improvements in the UK’s battery modelling capability that our project is targeting.

“Michael Faraday was one of the most impactful researchers of the UK’s past. Michael is set to be a hugely productive virtual researcher in energy storage science in the 21st century.”

Developing more accurate simulations of batteries will give researchers and their industry partners the ability to design advanced batteries without the cost of creating numerous prototypes to test every new material, or new type and configuration of the cells that make up a battery pack. Simulations also offer valuable insight into how existing materials work, enabling scientists to identify the limiting processes and develop rational strategies to overcome them. Models for control will enable battery lifetime and performance to be improved and reduce the cost of existing and future packs.

Of note to prospective owners of electric vehicles, improved computer simulations of battery performance will increase the rate at which improvements, for example, to vehicle cost, charging rates or range, are made to commercial models, accelerating the rate of mass-market adoption.

Using Michael, researchers will routinely be able to run their simulations overnight, rather than having to wait, in some cases, weeks or even months, before being able to do so. As such, Michael will accelerate the research process and shorten the timescale over which advances can be made. The first challenges to be tackled by the team include the fast-charging of batteries, low temperature operation and thermal management of cells within battery packs.

The new supercomputer will be exclusively dedicated to Faraday Institution projects. Around 85% of the available computing time initially has been allocated to researchers on the Multi-scale Modelling project, who will access the facility from UCL, Imperial College London, and five other universities in the UK.

The aim of the Faraday Institution’s battery modelling system project is to advance current computer models and develop design tools that can accurately predict the performance and lifetime of existing and future batteries. While computer models already exist from the atomic scale up to the dimensions of a battery pack, assessing processes that occur from nanoseconds to the years over which an electric vehicle operates, these models are not linked together and often lack the accuracy required for understanding the unique phenomena occurring within batteries.

Michael is being housed alongside the EPSRC Hub for Materials and Molecular Modelling (known as Thomas). While the Faraday Institution’s supercomputer will be on a separate platform, it will share the same architecture and software stack as Thomas, making it easier for researchers to move existing models and research over to the new platform.

“One of the key legacies of the Faraday Institution will be in the area of capability development,” said Neil Morris, CEO of the Faraday Institution. “Much of this initiative is focused on developing a pipeline of talent as we raise the next generation of battery scientists and engineers. But having the right facilities and infrastructure in place to enable and empower researchers is also key. Both initiatives will be pivotal in delivering our goal to make the UK the go-to place and world leader for battery technology research to ensure the country is well placed to take advantage of the future economic opportunities from this emerging technology.”

For more information on the Faraday Institution, visit faraday.ac.uk and follow @FaradayInst on Twitter.

 

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Powering Britain’s battery revolution, the Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage science and technology, supporting research, training, and analysis. Bringing together expertise from universities and industry, the Faraday Institution endeavours to make the UK the go-to place for the research and development of the manufacture and production of new electrical storage technologies for both the automotive and wider relevant sectors.
The first phase of the Faraday Institution is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of UK Research and Innovation through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). Headquartered at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, the Faraday Institution is registered charity with an independent board of trustees.
The ‘Faraday Battery Challenge’ is to develop and manufacture batteries for the electrification of vehicles – £246 million over four years – to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the move to a low carbon economy. The challenge will be split into three elements: research, innovation, and scale-up. It is among the first of six investment areas announced by the government to be funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. By investing in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation.
Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future UK prosperity by contributing to a healthy, connected, resilient, productive nation.
Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund: The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring together the UK’s world leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. The fund was created to provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers, part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years. It was designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. It is run by UK Research and Innovation.
UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.
Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.

Mitsubishi Electric wins order for 240MW energy storage system in Japan

Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric has won a contract from global engineering company Chiyoda Corporation for its BLEnDer RE energy storage system.

The energy storage system, along with power conditioners (PCS), will be installed at Kita-Toyotomi substation in Hokkaido, Japan.

The substation is owned by North Hokkaido Wind Energy Transmission company.

Claimed to be the largest in the world, the energy storage system will have a maximum output of nearly 240MW and 720MWh storage capacity. It is expected to become operational by March 2023.

Full article here.