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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P026818/1
Title: Energy Storage Electrode Manufacturing (ELEMENT)
Principal Investigator: Low, Dr C
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
DZP Technologies Ltd High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult Institute of Materials Finishing (IMF)
LVH Coatings Ltd
Department: WMG
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 April 2017 Ends: 31 March 2018 Value (£): 100,791
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Energy Storage
Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Mar 2017 EPSRC Manufacturing Prioritisation Panel March 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This EPSRC First Grant project will concentrate on the use of so-called 'Electrophoretic Deposition (EPD)' to manufacture energy storage electrodes with spatially distributed properties; in order to further advance the performance of electrochemical power devices. The research is aimed at realising a full capacity utilisation while meeting all relevant power extractions. This will be achieved by developing new electrode designs, manufacture them at a meaningful scale, microstructural characterisation and energy storage measurement. Electrodes built in this way will have their energy storage functions met more rationally than conventional monolithic design. Whilst in-depth investigation of materials chemistry is beyond the scope of this manufacturing centred project, the research will perform exemplary experiments involving Nb2O5 and C, in Li-ion battery context. The improved electrodes will be designed, manufactured and validated in the UK's first full battery prototyping lines in a non-commercial environment at the WMG Energy Innovation Centre.

Specifically, this project directly challenges the existing manufacturing paradigm in which electrode designs are driven by outdated manufacturing considerations, such as the casting and calendaring of powder-based viscous slurry. The existing technologies, which are clearly scalable and robust, dominate today's electrode manufacturing for batteries and supercapacitors devices. But, the manufacturing approach greatly limit the 'usable' energy density (Wh/kg) and 'usable' capacity (Ah) at device cell level and creates an undesirable viscous circle. This is because calendaring powder-based electrodes for high fraction of active materials results in pore networks with high tortuosity, filled with undesirable quantity of inactive materials such as polymeric binders and electrical conductivity enhancer carbon black particles. In this context, the electrodes must then be thin for high rate. But, thin electrodes result in high fraction of inactive materials; which consequently lowers the maximum achievable 'usable' energy density and 'usable' capacity. A real-world need therefore persists to expand our knowledge about realising high density active material electrodes, whilst having low pore tortuosity and of adequate electrical conductivity, but is less affected by the demanding manufacturing requirements and engineering constraints.

The proposed EPD approach is sufficiently generic that it can be applied for any energy storage materials and their chemistries, and the developed tools, processes and methodologies are common across scale can be of direct relevance for systematic optimisation of any existing Li-ion batteries, beyond Li-ion chemistries (e.g., Na-ion, Mg-ion) and higher energy density electrochemical capacitors (based on metal oxides).

In short, this project will explore a new direction: the scientific challenges and technological opportunities enabled by the design of 'high density active material electrodes of spatially distributed properties' through modern approaches in electrochemical manufacturing. The project outcomes are expected to impact scientific understandings of how charged materials and electric field interact, and will create improved electrode designs for future energy storage.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.warwick.ac.uk