The Faraday Institution builds closer industry relationships where specific short-term research needs have been identified, which lie within the broad scope of our research projects and which are of wider interest to industry.

The application process for Industry Sprint projects is outlined here.


The following Sprints are ongoing:

Understanding safety for next generation battery technologies

Solid state batteries are widely believed to represent the solution for next-generation, high energy density batteries in automotive applications. Whilst the removal of flammable liquid electrolytes overcomes a major issue in the safe deployment of high-energy batteries, there remains a general lack of quantified understanding of cell safety, and legacy standards and certification protocols are not necessarily relevant for the failure modes anticipated. In partnership with leading UK solid-state battery developer, Ilika, this sprint project will establish thought leadership in safety protocols for next-generation batteries and will undertake physical safety testing on prototype cells, to inform industrial design and deployment.

Building upon the significant experience of the SafeBatt project, researchers at the University of Oxford and University College London, will progress towards a failure modes and effect analysis (FMEA) understanding of solid-state batteries and support Ilika in their scale up and certification of their technology, alongside developing a framework for (pre)certification of next generation battery chemistries.

Projects involved: SafeBatt

Timeframe: 12 months [start date 1 March 2024]

Niobium oxide recycling and development of industrial capabilities (NORDIC)

Echion Technologies is commercialising mixed niobium-oxide anode active materials (XNO®) that show promise in increasing EV charging rate and cycle life and longevity in extreme conditions. In NORDIC, the University of Birmingham will evaluate hydrometallurgical and direct recycling routes for XNO® from different feedstocks, to determine the most feasible option to deliver a high-quality recycled product based on its measured physical and electrochemical properties.

The Sprint aims to define a high yield recovery process for XNO® obtained from coated electrodes (scrapped during development or production) and from discharged cells. It will assess total processing costs for each process stream and conduct a detailed benchmark characterisation of pristine material, production waste material and recovered material to determine performance post-recovery. The project represents a step towards Echion integrating XNO® recovery into an open- or closed-loop recycling process.

The Sprint continues a successful collaboration between Peter Slater, University of Birmingham, and Echion (the recipients of two Industry Fellowships). The collaboration has resulted in the identification of two new XNO® phases that have been taken as new potential products into Echion’s new product development cycle, where they are being assessed.

Projects involved: ReLiB

Timeframe: 12 months [start date 27th March 2024]

Microstructural design of LMFP cathodes through machine learning assisted manufacturing optimisation

The manufacture of battery electrodes involves many complex, interdependent processes. Characterising the effect of process parameters on electrode properties and performance is crucial for the development of next-generation materials including lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP). Overcoming processing challenges (such as those associated with small single-crystal particles) using traditional design-of-experiment approaches is often inefficient, requiring extensive physical prototyping, incurring significant cost and slowing innovation. The use of machine learning is expected to accelerate battery process development and commercialisation.

The aims of this Industry Sprint, led by WMG, University of Warwick, are to:
1. Utilise Polaron’s AI tools to design enhanced LMFP electrode manufacturing processes to improve cell performance, addressing challenges identified by the Degradation project.
2. Deepen the understanding of LMFP electrode manufacturing.
3. Demonstrate the commercial value of Polaron’s process optimisation tool, validating the company’s cell design approach to enable further application across the battery industry.

Polaron is a recent spin out from Imperial College London with technology originating from the Multi-scale Modelling Project.

Projects involved: Degradation Project

Timeframe: 12 months [start date 27 March 2024]

NextCell – Next Generation Cell Design

WMG, University of Warwick and Agratas, Tata Group’s battery business, have identified that significant innovation opportunities exist around new cell formats and architectures that improve performance and life while concurrently reducing manufacturing cost and end-of-life management.

NextCell, led by Professor James Marco, will adopt a systems-engineering methodology to enhance the outcomes and efficiency of cell design, manufacturability, and through-life sustainability. This sprint will co-create a strategy for the design and manufacture of next generation cell concepts, that meet the fundamental electro-thermal-mechanical challenges that arise from the introduction of novel cell formats and achieve even great levels of cell to pack efficiency, through life sustainability and system safety.

A major outcome of this project will be the creation of a generic roadmap to support the further development of a sovereign cell design capability for the UK addressing material selection, cell design, manufacturing, and sustainability.

Projects involved: Nextrode

Timeframe: 15 months

High voltage oxide cathodes for sodium-ion batteries

Sodium-ion batteries offer a cheaper, more sustainable alternative to lithium-ion. High-end Na-ion cells could compete on energy density and cost with graphite / lithium iron phosphate cells, making them candidates for affordable, low-mid range electric vehicles and grid storage.

This Sprint project, led by Dr Robert House at the Department of Materials, University of Oxford, aims to exploit recent advances in the understanding of oxygen redox chemistry to develop new positive electrode materials for Na-ion batteries. UK-based industry partner AMTE Power will be involved throughout, to ensure that cathode materials with the greatest commercial potential are identified and prioritised for future development.

High voltage oxygen redox can be achieved in sodium transition metal oxide materials by careful control of the composition. The project will be a fast-paced, focused, materials discovery programme to identify new oxygen-redox Na-ion positive electrodes. The outcome will be a set of compounds with the best performance properties that use primarily earth-abundant elements.

The project objectives are:

  1. To explore novel Na-ion cathode materials utilising reversible oxygen redox chemistry.
  2. To evaluate the tolerance of these materials to ambient atmosphere.
  3. To identify the most promising candidates in terms of cycle life, energy density, stability and rate performance to take forward for scale-up.
  4. To make single layer pouch-format full cells with hard carbon anodes and NaPF6 electrolyte to demonstrate the electrochemical performance and illustrate their commercial potential.

Projects involved: Complementary to NEXGENNA

Timeframe: 18 months

High voltage redox flow batteries for demanding applications

The flow battery prototype in the labs at University of CambridgeRedox flow batteries (RFBs) represent one of the most promising solutions for long duration grid-scale energy storage and one possibility for improving energy access in emerging economies. Almost all electrolytes used in RFBs are sensitive to trace quantities of oxygen, requiring purging with an inert atmosphere (and air-free conditions thereafter) to slow the reduction in capacity over time. This industry sprint will advance technology under development in Professor Dame Clare Grey’s group and led by project manager, Mark Carrington at the University of Cambridge that permits stable battery operation even if air impurities are present. The technology could improve system robustness and increase cell voltages above 1.5 V (rivalling those of lead-acid batteries) permitting substantially lower projected energy costs relative to other RFB technologies.

The aim of the Sprint is to demonstrate commercial viability of a class of air stable RFB electrolytes through prototyping at a scale > 1 kWh in a laboratory setting. Key aims include:

-finalisation of flow battery chemistry from among several existing lab prototypes

-process modelling of final chemistry production costs

-performance benchmarking at 1 kWh scale

-refinement of techno-economic and emissions projections

-industry consultation and business plan development in support of a possible start-up to exploit the technology and a subsequent MWh grid pilot demonstration in a representative environment.

Projects involved: Transforming Energy Access / Ayrton Challenge on Energy Storage

Timeframe: 12 months

Accelerating commercialisation of new scalable and sustainable manufacturing methods for silicon anodes

Inclusion of silicon in anodes offer a route to higher energy density lithium-ion batteries. Recent research has shown that damage caused by expansion of the silicon can be limited or avoided by using porous silicon (p-Si) but current methods of bulk p-Si manufacture are elaborate and energy-intensive, hence intrinsically uneconomical and unscalable.

In an extension to a Faraday Institution Seed project, this Sprint is seeking to develop the first commercially viable large-scale process for the bulk manufacture of p-Si for lithium-ion battery anodes. Led by Professor Siddharth Patwardhan, teams at the University of Sheffield and WMG, University of Warwick, will perform commercially-relevant extensive testing of silicon anodes produced from their proprietary ultra-low temperature, low cost, safe, and intrinsically scalable production method.

The project will:

  1. test electrochemical performance, using a range of configurations (including in pouch cells) and formulations, generating commercially relevant data on capacity, stability, and cell life, with the aim of validating the commercial relevance of the technology.
  1. undertake market and customer discovery, and techno-economic analysis, to enable the pitching of the process to potential investors and customers, and embark on the formation of a spin-out to commercialise the technology.

Projects involved: A seed project

Timeframe: 12 months

Xerode – Dry printing technology accelerator

The electrodes in a lithium-ion battery control many crucial performance characteristics of the final cell. Existing electrode manufacturing uses a wet slurry-based coating process to deposit the electrode. Whilst this is an incredibly productive process, it uses very large amounts of solvent, is energy intensive and requires a large factory footprint to accommodate the drying process. Xerode – the dry printing technology accelerator aims to overcome key limitations of the current process by building prototype device using a previously untested technique that would print dry, formulated electrode directly onto a moving current collector and give positional and compositional printing control for advanced customer-driven designed electrodes.

If successful, this innovation will enable large-scale, rapid, and completely dry electrode manufacturing, reducing manufacturing cost and potentially increasing energy/power density of batteries. Denis Cumming, Senior Lecturer at University of Sheffield and Project Leader for the Faraday Institution Nextrode project on electrode manufacturing will lead the project and will be joined by Dr Rachel Smith, Senior Lecturer also at Sheffield who is an expert in particle technology.

Timeframe: 12 months

Projects involved: Nextrode

ZeST – Li-ion conducting fibre for composite solid-state electrolytes

Initial studies have indicated that a composite material using lithium-ion conducting fibres can be an effective solid-state electrolyte. The ZeST project is targeting the development of a lithium-ion conducting fibre material for use in a composite solid-state electrolyte for next-generation batteries.

Thermal Ceramics UK Ltd, a subsidiary of Morgan Advanced Materials, will work with the novel glass group at Southampton University to develop a process to manufacture specialist fibres of a new composition to a tight tolerance with high yield.

The University of Southampton is contributing world leading experience and equipment, in the drawing of novel glasses into fibre form, to the project, which is targeting early commercial scale-up using greener and more efficient processes. The industry partner is engaged with a leading battery producer with a view to supplying the material commercially if the project is successful.

Expected Timeframe: 12 months

Project involved: SOLBAT

ELMASS – Screening of Electrode Manufacturing for All-Solid-State Batteries

WMG, University of Warwick and Jaguar Land Rover are working together on an Industry Sprint to unlock a path to scale up the type of solid-state batteries being investigated by SOLBAT. The key outputs will be a cost/performance assessment of an electrode manufacturing technique led by end-user requirements.

Timeframe: 12 months

Projects involved: SOLBAT

Supported thin films for oxide electrolytes

Use of oxide ceramics as electrolytes offer a promising route to solid state batteries. Researchers at the University of St Andrews are working with Morgan Advanced Materials, in collaboration with Ilika, in an Industry Sprint project of immediate interest to an automaker. The project, which complements the scope of the longer-term, multi-disciplinary SOLBAT project, is seeking to develop and optimise the process of making supported thin, dense films. Fine-tuning the support would help to mitigate limited conductivity and optimise performance and cyclability.

Timeframe: 15 months

Project involved: SOLBAT

Materials for thermal transfer and module manufacture

Thermal control of a battery pack is vitally important to its performance and longevity. Higher performance thermal materials could usefully improve both, by transferring heat efficiently from the cells to the cooling system, and by isolating cells from their neighbours in cases where an individual cell is going into thermal runaway. This sprint will look into the development of nanomaterials composites, phase change materials and functional scaffold materials to meet these aims, then both model and experimentally validate them.

Timeframe: 6 months

Projects involved: Multi-scale Modelling


The following Sprint projects have been completed:

TOPBAT – Optimising pack design for thermal management

This project sought to design a battery pack that is optimised for thermal management, which has the potential for significantly increased battery pack energy density, reduced pack cost and complexity and increased pack lifetime compared to the battery packs on the market today. The project aimed to demonstrate that the current practice of optimising cell-level energy density, without due consideration of thermal management, has a highly detrimental effect. TOPBAT is an example of the commercial application of the Faraday Institution’s Multi-scale Modelling project.

The team sought to validate its redesign concepts through a cell redesign project on AMTE’s “Ultra Power” cell.

Further information.

Timeframe: 6 months

Projects involved:  Multi-scale Modelling

Cell abuse, off gas species and detonation behaviour

Under cell failure conditions, the collection of off gases within a pack potentially poses a risk to aerospace applications where venting is undesirable. The aim of this sprint is to characterise the composition of these gases under various failure conditions, and to determine the danger they present across a range of environmental limits. This is expected to be an exploratory study into what is potentially a larger piece of work, where modelling could predict any flammability or detonation limits, and then be used to inform pack design during early development phases.

Timeframe: 4 months

Projects involved: Battery Degradation

Read a case study about the project: Improving battery safety for aerospace applications

The continuation of this project is now part of an integrated project on the science of battery safety – SafeBatt – launched in April 2021.

VIPER – Validated and Integrated Platform for battEry Remaining useful life

There is significant opportunity in accurately predicting the remaining useful life (RUL) of lithium-ion batteries under operating conditions. Wide-scale adoption of such a feature in battery management systems (BMS) would allow: the extension of the operational life of EVs/batteries; the stimulation of the second-hand EV market by increasing residual value; incentivisation of repurposing of batteries for second life applications.

A recently completed Faraday Battery Challenge collaborative R&D project – COBRA – funded by UKRI, and involving WMG, University of Warwick and Eatron Technologies has proven the feasibility of a hybrid approach to predict RUL that combines machine learning and physical models. However, COBRA also highlighted that further improvement in the physical models would be needed to increase the accuracy required for commercial applications.

The follow-on Industry Sprint project, VIPER, extended the successful collaboration, which brought together the modelling knowledge of WMG together with the artificial intelligence, BMS and Cloud technologies of Eatron. The Sprint accelerated the development of a working demonstrator/prototype of the RUL prediction system, integrating it into Eatron’s BMS. The project advanced lower TRL battery modelling research to industry relevant technology readiness; validated models with experimental data; understood Cloud model capabilities/limitations and developed a BMS model for state-estimation.

Projects involved: Faraday Institution Multi-scale Modelling and Innovate UK Collaborative R&D project COBRA

Timeframe: 15 months

Cell degradation

Phase 1 of this sprint project was initiated in 2019 when an EV manufacturer highlighted an unexpected storage issue. It was noted that select battery chemistries were experiencing faster capacity fade when stored at a specific state of charge (SOC). In the first phase of the study, WMG produced a matrix of 220 calendar aged cells at various SOC and temperatures. This was performed to mimic realistic conditions experienced by EVs, with capacity retention measured periodically. In Phase 2, Professor Louis Piper of WMG lead the partnership that also includes UCL, the University of Leicester and the industry partner. This phase performed forensic characterisation to determine the root causes of the specific degradation mechanisms involved that drive the unexpected capacity loss.

The project enabled the automaker to develop protocols and strategies that will suppress the potential degradation mechanism(s), for example, by minimising residence time and therefore capacity loss due to these conditions. These translated into higher performance, longer first life and safer batteries for EVs.

Timeframe: 12 months

Projects involved: Battery Degradation, Multi-scale Modelling, SafeBatt

Developing commercially viable quasi solid-state lithium-sulfur cells

Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries are a promising energy storage technology for application where lightweight batteries are needed, such as in aerospace applications. This Sprint project focuses on the development of quasi-solid-state Li-S batteries that have the potential to significantly enhance the number of times Li-S batteries can be charged before they reach end of life, the energy they can store per unit volume and the temperature range over which they can operate.

The Sprint combined the expertise of OXLiD (a UK-based Li-S battery start-up company) and UCL to define a technology roadmap and generate intellectual property for the development and commercialisation of Li-S batteries, providing tools for potentially significant economic benefits to the UK. Researchers tested and screened potential cathode materials and developed suitable electrolytes for a quasi-solid-state format. The final deliverable was a demonstration of the best cathode materials identified in commercially relevant high-capacity pouch cells and an evaluation of the maximum potential performance of quasi-solid-state Li-S materials to guide future commercialisation.

Expected timeframe: 14 months

Project involved: LiSTAR