ELEctrochemical Vehicle Advanced TEchnology
ELEVATE is a research project funded by the EPSRC.
One of the most promising routes for decarbonising the transport sector is the use of electrochemical power and storage technologies (e.g. fuel cells, supercapacitors and batteries). However, challenges persist in terms of performance, durability, cost, integration together within vehicles (hybridisation) and interfacing with the electricity grid.
This project will deliver a technology innovation chain that adopts a material-to-system approach. We will identify, optimise and scale-up new materials into devices, develop novel diagnostic techniques in the lab and for on-board monitoring and control, and validate the technologies in a hybrid vehicle.
The objectives will be met by five interconnected work packages (WPs): Hierarchical Structured Electrodes (WP1) will combine the nano-micro scale structuring of lithium ion battery (LIB) materials with meso-scale electrode structuring to create novel hierarchical structured electrodes. The target will be to produce a range of new high power and high energy density combinations, achieved through a rational design approach based on arrangements of porosities and materials. Critical to this work will be close interaction with WP2 where meso-structure will be characterized by X-ray tomography. These 3D data will show to what extent manufacturing designs are realized (WP3), help to rationalize electrochemical performance, and guide subsequent iterations of design-make-test in a way not previously possible.
Diagnostics and Correlative Metrology (WP2) will develop new methods of analysis to provide an unparalleled level of information about the internal working of batteries, fuel cells and supercapacitors and provide a mechanism for improving device design and materials formulation through a tightly integrated programme with WP1 on materials and WP3 on devices.
System Level Integration and Evaluation (WP3), sits in a central position between materials and analysis in WP1 and 2 and grid and vehicle interfacing in WP4 and 5. This WP will integrate new materials into functioning devices and develop understanding of their performance and degradation characteristics. To examine on-board performance, real-time, system-level diagnostics and prognostics (to include, system models, state estimators and data management) will be developed to ensure safety, enable fault detection and extend system life.
In WP4, Optimised Design of High-Rate Grid Interface, the interface of vehicle with the grid will be considered, with a particular focus on high-rate charging of electric vehicles (EV), whilst also minimising the grid impact of such high power chargers. This is envisaged via use of local off-vehicle energy storage at the charging station, to permit rapid recharge of EVs to the new high capacity on-vehicle energy stores (e.g. from WP1). This WP will study the optimal off-vehicle energy storage technology (e.g. supercapacitors, batteries, flow cells), characterise and diagnose the energy store performance at high rates and perform laboratory scale testing of a rapid charger.
Finally, in WP5, In-Vehicle Aspects, Validation Platform and Impact, the newly-evolved electrochemical energy storage packages developed in earlier WPs will be validated in a hybrid vehicle. The data generated and derived equivalent circuits will be fed back into the design and innovation cycle, leading to better materials and devices. Findings will be delivered to project partners, and ultimately back to UK industry.
The cross-disciplinary nature of the work and collaborative approach is ingrained in the work-plan, where, as well as having individual responsibility for a specific aspect of the work, each partner will contribute to at least two work-packages.
We have strong industry support and will form an Industrial Advisory Committee to provide industry perspective and help us navigate the most relevant and impactful course through the project.