Lithium Ion Cathode Materials – CATMAT

The CATMAT project is focussed on targeting improvements in lithium-ion battery energy density and EV range through an understanding of the critical properties and limitations of lithium-rich oxygen-redox cathodes and novel anion-chemistry cathodes, and developing scalable synthesis routes for these materials. 

The cathode represents one of the greatest barriers to increasing the energy density of lithium-ion batteries for EV applications. Changes to the chemistry of the cathode are likely to give the greatest improvements in future battery performance: boosting battery life, storing greater energy to improve range, reducing battery cost and increasing the power available to the EV during acceleration. Developing a new generation of lithium-ion cathodes is therefore a major scientific and commercial challenge as well as a huge opportunity. 

The CATMAT project is focussed on understanding and mitigating the current limitations lithium-rich oxygen redox cathodes, and of developing cathodes with novel or complex anion chemistries. Alongside this progression in fundamental understanding of the electrochemistry of these cathodes, the project is developing scalable synthesis routes for the most promising identified materials. Once synthesised at larger scale, these materials will then be integrated in full battery cells to demonstrate practical performance. 

This project will support the accelerated development of new cathode materials and will build on industrial partnerships to deliver technological applications.  

Timeline with milestone/deliverables (September 2025)

  • Develop a deeper understanding of lithium-rich cathode materials with high energy densities and develop solutions to issues hindering major advances.  
  • Exploit new knowledge to inform the discovery of novel cathode materials for high energy density batteries (to increase EV range) while reducing reliance on critical materials in the supply chain.  
  • Use experimental, modelling, and cell performance evaluation to down-select novel materials for further synthetic and scale-up work. 
  • Connect basic science to the manufacturing process, with promising cathodes taken forward to synthesis at scale and cell testing, thereby demonstrating their performance for applications. 
  • Build on industrial partnerships for pathways to deliver technological impact. 

Project innovations

CATMAT is developing a substantial core of knowledge that will lead to the development of the lithium-ion cathode chemistries of the future. The project’s advances in high performance cathodes will be taken forward to innovation and potential commercialisation through its industrial partners, which will provide important pathways to technological impact. Partners include leading players in the chemical, materials, cell manufacturing and automotive sectors. Their perspectives on commercialisation and technology transfer are being woven throughout the project. 

As the UK establishes its own Li-ion battery manufacturing base, the potential for CATMAT to bring important innovations in cathode chemistry to commercial fruition is increasing considerably whilst the importance of inventing chemistries that both boost the resilience of an ethical supply chain and improve recyclability is paramount.  

Project funding
1 October 2019 - 30 September 2025

Principal Investigator
Professor Saiful Islam
University of Oxford

Project Leader
Dr Benjamin Morgan
University of Bath

Project Manager
Dr Adrian Pugh
University of Oxford

University Partners
University of Oxford (Lead)
University of Bath
University of Birmingham
University of Cambridge
University of Liverpool
University College London

Research Organisations, Facilities and Institutes
Diamond Light Source (STFC)
UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC)
+ 12 Industrial Partners


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