Altairnano and the University of Warwick

At the University of Warwick, situated in the heart of England only an hour’s journey from London, resides a £13m battery research facility that is unique in the UK. As the solely battery facility in the UK of its variety, the Power Innovation Middle (EIC) is succesful of taking battery materials from laboratory scale to business scale pilot line manufacture of pouch cells; by means of to full battery characterization, aggressive testing and lastly testing in an entire electrical/hybrid drive practice multi functional location. The University and WMG present a one-stop-shop for the improvement of new battery chemistries from concept to completely proven traction batteries.

In a useful partnership Altairnano has despatched one of their Software Engineers, Michael Brunell, to pursue an Engineering Doctorate diploma at the University with a research concentrate on Altairnano’s nLTO batteries. While attending the full-time, 4 yr residency program Michael has full access and use of the state-of-the-art amenities in help of his research objectives. Michael’s analysis focuses on enhancing the prediction and modelling capabilities utilized by Altairnano in sizing and estimating the lifetime of their techniques in addition to growing the common information base of nLTO batteries.

Between Michael’s research, partnership with WMG and the University of Warwick, Altairnano is dedicated to persevering with as an business main LTO power storage system provider for all industries worldwide.

Interview with Michael

Athena Reed: What elements made you select Warwick?
Michael Brunell: Alternative and the probability to get some international expertise. Warwick was building a brand new battery testing facility and was trying to grow their workforce, at the similar time they have been enthusiastic about performing some analysis Altairnano’s lithium titanate. From Altairnano’s aspect it offered a chance to continue the analysis on their know-how and proceed to do some improvement work one of the important tools, the modelling calculator. As for me, it offered a chance to continue to work with Altairnano whereas at the similar time return to high school to proceed my schooling which had been a objective of mine. What better alternative than for me to hitch a growing analysis group based mostly internationally at Warwick, which was ranked this yr as one of the prime 100 universities in the world, proceed to work with Altairnano and assist them develop as an organization? All of this went into my choice to choose Warwick.

AR: Are there other corporations which have engineers attending and doing research at Warwick? Are you able to broaden on who they’re or what business they are in?
MB: Most corporations sponsor a PhD or Engineering Doctorate scholar, my state of affairs is exclusive that Altairnano has chosen to sponsor me in my doctorate, but typically the college students go on to hitch the company after research. Moreover while there is probably not others in my state of affairs, WMG has very shut ties with a number of corporations who send their engineers, managers and others to take a number of coaching programs taught by WMG in our amenities on actual manufacturing scale gear. The companies that ship their staff embrace a number of business leaders in aerospace, rail, transportation, metal, manufacturing. Some of the largest and most well-known corporations are Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Tata Steel. The latter three corporations truly home a quantity of their engineers and giant groups permanently in the WMG building so that they could foster a higher interplay between business and academia. Moreover the amenities can be found for use by outdoors business (WMG is well-known and construct its status on its close integration with business). So typically outdoors industrial corporations will make the most of the gear WMG has for studies that they could not have the capability to do at their own amenities. One of the greatest examples is the linked twin dynamometers that are setup in order that business can check a full hybrid powertrain system (the electrical and gasoline motors concurrently, plus a full battery pack and controls) in a very dynamic setting. This was used just lately by a racing company to tweak and optimize their system prior to implementation on the car.

AR: You talked about it’s useful to each EIC and Altairnano. Can you clarify extra on how both sides benefit from the relationship?
MB: From the EIC’s perspective they are gaining access to a relatively unique lithium ion chemistry which allows them to construct their expertise in the know-how, which is usually touted as a promising know-how of the future, which helps to further their mission to be a world chief in battery analysis and provide them with a singular selling point to entice future companions. This familiarity with the know-how has enabled the EIC to pursue a quantity of tasks where LTO is an ideal answer, which different candidates might not have entry to. These tasks embrace rail and bus purposes thus far, with extra in the pipeline.

From Altairnano’s perspective, they achieve entry to a leading analysis facility and group, in addition to entry to potential tasks by way of the numerous bids, clients and companions of the EIC. Moreover Altairnano receives targeted attention on research useful to creating wider familiarity with their chemistry and creating better tools and information of their know-how to help current and future clients. Past the research aspect Altairnano benefits by having an employee based mostly in the UK permits Altairnano larger access and help to new and present clients in Europe.

AR: Does the EIC only concentrate on transportation? If not, what other industries or purposes can benefit from the research?
MB: The EIC’s most important focus has been transportation on account of the shut partnership with Jaguar Land Rover and the native automotive business, but it is increasing to grid purposes as properly. By nature of the amenities and package obtainable, the battery techniques that may be tested might be for almost any software up to about 500 kW characterization of a battery cells for grid doesn’t differ to a lot from characterization of a battery cell for car or use in a power device. They aren’t fairly able to deal with full tractor trailer sized methods but for grid analysis, however they are doing analysis into the grid aspect software of batteries. Some of it is by virtue of their previous expertise with automobiles, comparable to Car to Grid (V2G) purposes, however there’s additionally some work totally targeted on grid purposes. Even inside the focus of transportation they take a look at is sort of vast spectrum of purposes from shopper automobiles, to high end racing, to buses, as well as trains and trams.

AR: The place do you see the future of Lithium battery know-how headed?
MB: I see the future of lithium battery know-how as one with a number of totally different chemistries to satisfy the numerous totally different purposes and environments, comparable the numerous automotive models which are out there to satisfy individuals’s needs in that sense. At the similar time while there might be a quantity of totally different chemistries I do see some consolidation right into a prime few select chemistries for a majority of purposes similar to LTO, LFP, in addition to some high voltage cathode chemistries which when combined with some high voltage or novel electrolytes might assist to enable some new chemistries. Half of this shall be pushed by consolidation in the business, but in addition standards. Presently with so many various chemistries which might be obtainable which are simply slightly totally different, it’s onerous to create requirements and every thing becomes customized or locked-in which may hinder the adoption by different industries similar to the automotive world which is used to at least one choice lead acid, however with a number of choose totally different type elements based mostly on want. The requirements around lead acid permit batteries to be swapped simply, however with the present state of Li-ion batteries you don’t have that choice to simply change or change your battery or battery pack to a different manufacture resulting from differences in behaviour, type elements, management, safety, just about anything that may be totally different from one battery or battery pack manufacture to a different is totally different.

One thing I don’t see in the near future, just but, is any vital step change in Lithium ion batteries and their performance. While the world would really like vital enhancements just like pc chips it just gained’t happen in the battery business sadly, will probably be incremental improvements. However there’s still all the time hope that some researcher will make that tremendous breakthrough that no one else thought of which might change the recreation completely.

AR: How does the concentrate on green power (renewables) differ between the UK and the states?
MB: The UK is a number of years behind the US in phrases of getting inexperienced power and renewables (especially power storage on the grid barring the few giant hydro crops from a number of years ago). But they’re farther ahead in terms of offshore wind energy. Half of this I consider has been the robust grid connections with Europe which has allowed it to delay higher implantation of renewables as Europe has an enormous proportion of clean energy in the type of nuclear and hydro. Moreover the lack of giant sources for renewables including a scarcity of hydro, geothermal and photo voltaic opportunities has restricted its implantation in the UK. Roughly just one.84b7bfaf5e83b339dcf045925800af2686e8097b4ad19a7487bc27be88a4411b2 of the UK’s energy manufacturing is from hydro the place as in the US it’s near 74b7bfaf5e83b339dcf045925800af2686e8097b4ad19a7487bc27be88a4411b2, lack of vital geothermal assets has additionally limited the improvement on that entrance. Photo voltaic implementation is starting to decide up as efficiencies improve and value come down which makes it extra viable in the UK’s traditionally cloudy local weather. Relating to wind, with a big quantity of coastline as some windy areas the UK has grown to be the sixth largest wind power producer in the world as of 2012 and accounts for higher than 94b7bfaf5e83b339dcf045925800af2686e8097b4ad19a7487bc27be88a4411b2 of its complete energy production.
In contrast the US is blessed with its access to an abundance of numerous climates offering a platform which has enabled the progress of all varieties of renewable power.

AR: Do you assume any of the analysis at EIC can be commercialized?
MB: One of WMGs foremost focus and modus operandi, is that the research accomplished right here is for the benefit of business immediately as such a lot of the research carried out at WMG and the EIC is commercialize. WMG has built a fame inside business for its industrial focus in manufacturing and that ethos carries over to the EIC. One of the largest examples of that is the research being pursued by Jaguar Land Rover which has been carried out into their automobiles already. One other instance is a few of the electric buses operating in London the place the manufacturer made a change to the batteries chemistry they’re utilizing in their fleet as a result of their analysis into life time performance which was carried out at the EIC.

AR: Is there anything you want to share about Warwick and the analysis that goes on there?
MB: Warwick and WMG are continuing to quickly develop and broaden their fame and standing in the world, as such it is an thrilling time to be right here and to be half of the superb work going. What I’ve talked about is only a small sliver of the research that goes on here and I encourage anybody for extra info to contact me at [email protected] or visit Warwick and WMG’s websites for more info. Under is an inventory of the numerous analysis groups and subjects that WMG accommodates. With a pushed give attention to business and enhancing a business’s bottom line by means of their research WMG is a singular educational setting with thrilling alternatives.