The Faraday Institution is pleased to announce it has awarded a further two Entrepreneurial Fellowships.
The Entrepreneurial Fellowship programme supports researchers across the UK looking to create new businesses and commercialise battery technologies. Fellowships receive mentoring, strategic business advice and introductions to key industry contacts.
Introducing the new Fellowships:
Ionworks is a battery modelling software startup built around the physics-based modelling software PyBaMM (Python Battery Mathematical Modelling), a core part of the Faraday Institution’s Multi-Scale Modelling project.
PyBaMM started in academia but is gaining greater adoption in industry and Ionworks aims to supercharge this growth, unlocking the benefits of accurate battery models based on actual physical phenomena for use by industry. Ionworks’ founders include members of PyBaMM’s core development team but are independent from PyBaMM’s steering council and so are uniquely positioned to achieve this, while also retaining the independence, credibility and sustainability of the open-source platform and fostering the wider community.
The PyBaMM community won the Faraday Institution Collaboration Award in 2021 – find out more
The Entrepreneurial Fellowship will enable Ionworks to ramp up development of professional interfaces to transform their prototypes into attractive, widely usable products. It will enable the organisation to roll out their software platform to UK clients within the next year.
The grant will allow the founders to focus on business development and consultancy style projects with key clients to gain further understanding of their specific modelling challenges, and develop the software accordingly. This will help Ionworks build a comprehensive battery analysis framework that can be used to run large-scale simulations in the cloud with data analysis to improve battery design through optimisation and materials discovery. The modelling solutions being developed by Ionworks compliment cell libraries being built by other companies including previous Entrepreneurial Fellows, About:Energy.
Transforming battery diagnostics through ultrasonic measurements.
An Entrepreneurial Fellowship has been awarded to progress start-up company, Sention. The team has developed a sensitive mapping technique that monitors reflected pulses of ultrasound to evaluate the physical properties of batteries with high special resolution. It can be used to rapidly assess the state of health (SOH) of cells with very limited power and space requirements – significant advantages over incumbent electrochemical techniques.
The Entrepreneurial Fellowship, led Dr Rhodri Owen, based at UCL’s Electrochemical Innovation Lab, will allow Sention to build a demonstration unit that will improve on the existing lab-based setup. This will include the development of a software back-end interface with the ability to automatically assess cells and increase throughput.
The data obtained from additional tests on new and aged cells will allow a detailed and statistically significant relationship between acoustic signature and the cell’s SOH to be established. It will also provide data that can be used to inform ultrasound-based quality control systems by correlating the performance of the cells during cycling and their changing acoustic maps, allowing the team to predict which cells are likely to perform poorly.
A number of development companies and automakers already have an interest in the technology. With a demonstration unit constructed and a statistically significant data set, the team aims to prove the technology’s effectiveness and application to real-world scenarios and exploit these relationships.
Sention’s technology has potential applications through the entire battery value chain:
- as a low cost and rapid quality control check during cell manufacturing – identifying defects early in the cell production process, reducing production costs and scrap.
- as an acoustic battery management system to improve SOH (and state-of-charge) prediction.
- as a high throughput screening technique to assess the SOH cells at the end of life to determine their suitability for reuse.