Energy for IoT: NIPS winter school 2020

REGISTER NOW!

This is a completely free, virtual event, open to graduate students, post-docs, and young researchers. 

For more info, to view the programme and register, follow the  link: https://www.nipslab.org/nips-winter-school-2020/

R&I Days 22-24 Sept 20

REGISTER NOW!

This is a completely free, virtual event, open to graduate students, post-docs, and young researchers. 

For more info, to view the programme and register, follow the  link: https://www.nipslab.org/nips-winter-school-2020/

3rd Si-Drive consortium meeting & 1st workshop

Over the last two days, we hosted our third Si-DRIVE consortium meeting, which was held online due to COVID-19, and also our first project workshop. The workshop focused on sustainability in batteries research with guest speakers from other H2020 projects, and a dedicated life cycle assessment session. Thanks to everyone who joined!

Batteries 2030+ Web conference 25-26 May

Join the scientific web conference about European perspectives on batteries of the future.
When? May 25 at 13.00 – May 26 at 12.30 CET.
Read more and register https://battery2030.eu/news/news-detail/?tarContentId=866906

Consortium meeting #2 – Rome

On September 26/27, the Si-DRIVE consortium meet for the second time since the initiation of the project on January 1. Partners travelled from all over Europe to be at the meeting, which was hosted by partner organisations, ENEA and CNR. 

Si-DRIVE kick off meeting

On March 21/22, the Si-DRIVE consortium meet for the first time since the initiation of the project on January 1. Partners travelled from all over Europe to be at the meeting: Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, and Switzerland. The meeting was a great success and congratulations to all involved.

Limerick team aims to supercharge EV batteries with €8m EU project

The University of Limerick is to lead an €8m EU research project to greatly enhance the range and power of EVs to suit future demand.

Ireland’s west coast is proving to be a centre of electric vehicle (EV) development as, not far from Jaguar Land Rover’s automotive research centre in Shannon, Co Clare, a team of researchers will begin giving these vehicles the ability to travel even further distances.

The University of Limerick (UL) has announced that its Bernal Institute will lead an €8m EU-funded research project called Si-DRIVE to develop battery technology for higher-performance EVs.

While EVs currently only make up less than 2pc of European registered cars, demand is set to surge as countries plan for a ban on the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars in the decades to come.

However, in order to make such a major transition, car owners will need to be shown that issues typically associated with EVs – such as ‘range anxiety’ and long charging times – can be overcome.

The project will focus heavily on the sustainability aspect of EVs, in particular the removal of rare and expensive materials used in batteries such as cobalt, as well as performing life cycle analysis and assessing the suitability of the battery cells for secondhand use.

Alongside its role as project coordinator, UL will also focus on the development of the high-performance, silicon-based anode materials. This research will lead to the development of lightweight anodes, composed of abundant elements that can reduce the overall weight of the final batteries.

The Si-DRIVE consortium consists of 16 academic and industrial partners from seven European countries. Across these teams, battery cell safety enhancements will use non-flammable solid electrolytes, which will be custom-designed to allow much faster charging times.

Dr Hugh Geaney, researcher on the project, added: “The Si-DRIVE project will bring together leading experts from across Europe to deliver the sustainable and cost-effective battery technology required for environmentally friendly EVs of the future.”

University of Limerick drives vehicle battery research

A team from the University of Limerick (UL) is taking on the challenge of making faster-charging, longer-lasting batteries for electric cars. The group, part of the UL Bernal Project, hopes to create batteries that charge up more quickly and hold onto that charge for longer, allowing electric vehicle drivers of to break free from current worries over ‘range anxiety’.

The Bernal Project is contributing to Si-DRIVE, an EU supported project fnded by €8 million from the Horizon2020 fund. Prof Kevin Ryan, leader of Si-DRIVE project explained: “We’re looking at a timeline of three-to-five years to go from the lab to consumer sales. Quite often there are trade offs between different performance requirements such as range, fast-charging, and lifetime. We have outlined new materials developments in all components of the battery – anode, cathode and electrolyte – such that in one battery technology we can simultaneously meet these performance challenges.”

The team is also working with the research arm of Fiat, Centro Ricerche Fiat (CRF), in order to specifically tailor the technology for use in cars.

A major part of the project will be finding ways to remove the need for rare-Earth elements, such as cobalt, from the design of the batteries. Cobalt recently hit the headlines when one of the primary source of the metal, a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, found that some of the supply had been contaminated by natural uranium. Prices for cobalt doubled last year, after a Volkswagen executive described the metal a crucial to future electric car plans, and concerns have been raised by Amnesty International over the work and employment practices of companies mining the metal.

Dr Hugh Geaney, researcher on the project said, on the subject of using rare metals for the batteries, that: “The Si-DRIVE project will bring together leading experts from across Europe to deliver the sustainable and cost-effective battery technology required for environmentally friendly EVs of the future.” The current thinking is that the cobalt used in the anodes and cathodes of the batteries (the contact points at which current flows in and out of the battery’s cells) could be replaced by a high-performance silicon.

The research will also work on replacing the current state-of-the-art liquid electrolyte found in batteries with a solid replacement. These so-called solid-state batteries can, theoretically, hold twice the amount of charge of a conventional battery, potentially doubling the range of a car. A solid electrolyte could also reduce, perhaps eliminate, the sort of ‘thermal runaway’ to which current batteries are prone, where their temperature runs out of control (usually because of damage to the battery housing) and which can cause a fire.

Dr Bob Flynn, the national contact point for the EU’s Horizon 2020 fund (from whence UL’s funding has come) at Enterprise Ireland welcomed the announcement, telling The Irish Times that: “’Si-Drive ranked first of all proposals submitted for this specific Horizon 2020 call and this success brings Irish researchers to the forefront of battery related research and technology development across Europe. Enterprise Ireland provided financial and technical support for the team to develop their proposal in line with our strategy for Horizon 2020 to support excellence in research with the objective of driving innovation and competitiveness across the Irish economy. To date Irish researchers and companies have successfully won €630m in approvals under Horizon 2020.”

UL team lead €8m electric car charge

A team at the University of Limerick (UL) is to lead a €8m EU-funded research project to help improve the performance of electric cars.

Researchers at UL’s Bernal Institute will head up the Si-Drive project and will focus on how to get more out of lithium batteries to improve driving range, cost and recharge times.

Leader of the project, Professor Kevin Ryan said: “This project will tackle the major barriers to EV uptake, which relate to driving range, cost and recharge times by completely re-imagining the lithium ion battery using innovative anode, cathode and electrolyte materials.” There has been a huge continent-wide push towards electric vehicles in recent years, amplified by the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal.

However, despite incentives made by various governments to encourage take-up, as well as the promise of a crackdown on diesel emissions in leading European city centres, the uptake has been slower than anticipated. Just 2% of European vehicles are currently electric, despite an EU target of 40% by 2030. Irish car owners have consistently voiced their concerns over expense, range and charging points. There are around 6,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads at present.

The UL project will focus heavily on the sustainability of the system, with rare and expensive materials such as cobalt targeted for removal, researchers said. It will also focus on the development of the high-performance silicon-based anodes materials, with reducing the overall weight of the final batteries a key target.

The Bernal Institute team will lead 16 academic and industrial partners from seven European countries. Researcher Dr Hugh Geaney said: “The Si-DRIVE project will bring together leading experts from across Europe to deliver the sustainable and cost-effective battery technology required for environmentally friendly EVs of the future.”

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) annual Energy in Ireland report released earlier this week said there was a 0.5% increase in energy demand as the economy grew. It said the Republic continues to face a challenge in reducing reliance on fossil fuels for transport, heating and electricity production, with over 90% of all energy used in 2017 from fossil fuels.

The report said: “Transport represents the single largest sector of energy use, half of which is private cars. We need a rapid transition from diesel and petrol to electric vehicles.

The country’s geography makes it well suited to electric cars and should form the majority of new car purchases from now on, the SEAI said.

Next Generation Battery Technology For Electric Vehicles Project To Be Led By University Of Limerick Research Team

Researchers at the University of Limerick’s Bernal Institute are leading an €8 million EU funded research project, called Si-DRIVE to develop battery technology for higher performance electric vehicles (EVs). EVs currently make up less than 2% of the European fleet despite gradual gains in the market share. However, European policy demands that by 2030 40% of all new cars are to be EVs. Significant improvements to existing EV battery technology are required to improve driving range and charge times, if this ambitious target is to be achieved.

Professor Kevin M. Ryan, leader of Si-DRIVE project explains: “This project will tackle the major barriers to EV uptake, which relate to driving range, cost and recharge times by completely re-imagining the lithium ion battery using innovative anode, cathode and electrolyte materials.“

The project will focus heavily on the sustainability of the system, with rare and expensive materials (e.g. cobalt) targeted for removal. This green focus will be supplemented by performing life cycle analysis, assessing the suitability of the cells for 2nd life applications and through the development of recycling processes for cell materials. Alongside their role as project coordinator, UL will also focus on the development of the high performance silicon based anodes materials. This research will lead to the development of lightweight anodes, composed of abundant elements that can reduce the overall weight of the final batteries. Coordination of the project will ensure that UL are at the forefront of battery research, through the development of research links and demonstration of the game-changing performance of their advanced anode materials.

Dr Hugh Geaney, researcher on the project added: “The Si-DRIVE project will bring together leading experts from across Europe to deliver the sustainable and cost-effective battery technology required for environmentally friendly EVs of the future.”

The Si-DRIVE consortium is comprised of 16 academic and industrial partners from seven European countries, across the entire battery development chain. Battery active material design will benefit from state of the art modelling capabilities, coupled with expertise in materials production and characterisation, to deliver higher capacity, safer materials required for future batteries. Cell safety enhancements will be achieved through the use of non-flammable solid electrolytes, which will be custom designed to allow fast charging capabilities desired by consumers. As part of the project, cell prototypes will be prepared using the optimised anode, cathode and electrolyte materials, to demonstrate performance enhancements compared to current state of the art electric vehicle batteries.

Dr Bob Flynn, National Contact Point for the Horizon 2020 at Enterprise Ireland welcomed the announcement, “’Si-DRIVE’ ranked first of all proposals submitted for this specific Horizon 2020 call and this success brings Irish researchers to the forefront of battery related research and technology development across Europe. Enterprise Ireland provided financial and technical support for the team to develop their proposal in line with our strategy for Horizon 2020 to support excellence in research with the objective of driving innovation and competitiveness across the Irish economy. To date Irish researchers and companies have successfully won €630m in approvals under Horizon 2020 bringing us over the half way point to achieving our national Horizon 2020 target of €1.25bn”.

Prof Kevin M Ryan is Chair of Chemical Nanotechnology at Department of Chemical Sciences and Bernal Institute at the University of Limerick. He is a Co-PI on SFI Research Centres MaREI and Amber and holder of an IRC Laureate.

Dr Hugh Geaney is a Principal Investigator affiliated with the Department of Chemical Sciences and Bernal Institute and is a holder of a starting investigator research grant from SFI.