UK collaborators power up for solid-state battery future

23 August 2021 | Muriel Cozier

‘The realisation of a prototype solid-state battery cell will be a great achievement for the UK battery industry…’

Seven UK-based organisations have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop solid-state battery (SSB) technology, which will focus on automotive applications. The collaboration intends to ‘harness and industrialise UK academic capability to produce cells using highly scalable manufacturing techniques,’ that exceed existing cost-effectiveness and performance.

The seven organisations are the Faraday Institution, which has led the consortium’s formation. Oxford University, which leads the Faraday Institution’s solid-state battery (SOLBAT) project. Johnson Matthey, the UK’s leading battery materials business and Britishvolt, a Gigaplant developer, with a site in Northeast England. The other partners are E+R (Emerson & Renwick) a leading designer of manufacturing equipment, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre and WMG, University of Warwick, leaders in battery research and development.

SSBs are set to offer significant advantages over lithium-ion battery technologies, including the ability to hold more charge, increasing the range of electric vehicles. However, the consortium will be addressing the scientific challenges that are hindering high power SSBs, with commercially relevant performance, being realised.

The Faraday Institute has focused on the development of SSBs since 2018, with the solid-state battery (SOLBAT) project. This project was recently extended to 2023. The SOLBAT project, which is led by Oxford University, is aimed at removing the barriers that are preventing the progression to market of SSBs. The Faraday Institute forecasts that by 2030, SSBs are likely to take a 7% share of the global consumer electronics battery market, and a 4% share of the electric vehicle battery market. At the same time, global SSB revenues from sales to electric vehicles manufacturers are expected to reach $8 billion by 2030.

A prototyping facility has been designed. Once constructed, the collaborators say it will allow larger cells to be produced using scalable manufacturing techniques. Funding sources for the facility are currently being sought.

Christian Gunther, CEO, Battery Materials at Johnson Matthey said; ‘The realisation of a prototype solid-state battery cell will be a great achievement for the UK battery industry, and this consortium will be a critical enabler for delivering this milestone.’

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