Towards lightweighting electrified transport system – novel multifunctional batteries

Since weight reduction is vital in transportation, lightweight materials have been identified as key for successful electrification of road transport[1] and meeting the reduced emission demands for aircraft in 2050[2]. Current battery systems add significant weight (typically 350 kg[3]) to electric cars and reduce interior volume. Furthermore, such systems do not contribute to the structural performance; i.e. they are structurally parasitic. With this in mind, there is a compelling argument for materials with combined structural and energy storage capabilities. Whilst conventional engineering design focuses on compartmentalisation, i.e. minimising the mass/volume of monofunctional subsystems to deliver the best solution, multifunctionality via the use of composites is a route by which lightweighting can be achieved. We will focus on such a multifunctional device called structural battery composite material, which can simultaneously carry mechanical loads and store energy – imagine that the panels of an electric car also store energy! The aim of the initiative is to build up a strong interdisciplinary team to meet the grand scientific and engineering challenges of structural battery composites. Within this team we will establish an active feedback loop between processing–microstructure–performance to enable in-depth understanding of the complicated electrochemical and mechanical mechanisms in structural composite batteries, and ultimately realize a demonstration battery with an energy density of 100 Wh/kg, and a shear modulus of 1 GPa, which is comparable with state-of-the-art batteries and composites for electric vehicles.

[1] González, C., Vilatela, J. J., et al., Progress in Materials Science, 89: 194-251, 2017
[2] http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air/doc/flightpath2050.pdf
[3] http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2012/04/17/ford-reveals-how-much-electric-car-batteries-cost/

Start date 01/01/2019
End date The project is closed: 31/12/2019

Published: Sat 29 Feb 2020.