A reel-to-reel coater

This industry fellowship will facilitate the sharing of expertise between the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) and the Energy Materials Group at the University of Birmingham, led by Professor Emma Kendrick and Dr Carl Reynolds. 

Prof Kendrick is work package leader on the Faraday Institution’s Nextrode project investigating smarter slurry cast electrodes.

The fellowship will facilitate the sharing of knowledge in the areas of electrode slurry characterisation and modelling. It will improve the ability to predict the rheology of electrode slurries as they are scaled up from lab-scale to production scales, so reducing coating line dial-in times and scrap rates and improving product quality.

The aims of the 12-month fellowship are to:

  • Further develop the understanding of how formulation impacts slurry and coating processability.
  • Determine best practice for slurry characterisation.
  • Understand the impact of scale up on slurry rheology on moving from use of a 1 litre, 10 litre and 220 litre mixer.
  • Provide rheological parameters as inputs to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models that can be used to predict slurry coat-ability and inform initial process parameters for production.
  • Transfer knowledge of slurry characterisation to UKBIC.

For UKBIC the fellowship will additionally:

  • Further populate UKBIC’s database of input parameters used for CFD modelling and future AI designed cell optimisation tools.
  • Enable the organisation to develop a competitive baseline for manufacturers to test their new technologies against.
  • Further mitigate the risk of scale-up for future technology developers using UKBIC facilities allowing them to reach market more quickly.
  • Ensure that UKBIC’s customers who use its electrode capability advance the development of their slurries for industrialisation. The ongoing work will help UKBIC to bring in teams to assist in the analyses of slurries and coatings to minimise coating defects and other potential downstream process issues.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham (and Nextrode project) will benefit from the collaboration by further developing:

  • An understanding how parameters scale up onto manufacturing lines.
  • Experience in tailoring research for manufacture.
  • Exposure to CFD modelling and simulation

The ongoing collaboration between UKBIC and Nextrode is helping to tackle real industry challenges and de-risk barriers to scale-up. The collaboration demonstrates the Faraday Battery Challenge’s role in marrying research, innovation and scale-up to deliver positive impact for the UK battery industry. It further supports UKBIC’s mission to be the place to go for battery industrialisation. The project will enable UKBIC’s electrode customers to benefit from the knowledge we’ve learnt in the development and coating of their slurries.

Ameir Mahgoub, Head of Product Engineering, at UKBIC