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 and meeting the reduced emission demands for aircraft in 2050. Current battery systems add significant weight (typically 350 kg) 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.
 González, C., Vilatela, J. J., et al., Progress in Materials Science, 89: 194-251, 2017
The project is closed: 31/12/2019
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