Lithium Ion Cathode Materials – CATMAT

Targeting improvements in lithium-ion battery energy density and EV range through understanding critical properties and limitations of lithium-rich oxygen redox cathodes and of nickel-rich cathodes, and thereby developing novel solutions.

The cathode represents one of the greatest barriers to increasing the energy density of lithium-ion batteries for EV applications, with changes to the chemistry of the cathode 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 therefore presents a major scientific and commercial challenge
and opportunity.

The CATMAT project is placing considerable emphasis on understanding and mitigating the current limitations of nickel-rich cathodes (with low or no cobalt) and of lithium-rich oxygen redox cathodes. The project is exploiting this new knowledge to develop solutions to issues that at present are hindering major advances, and to discover novel cathode materials with enhanced properties.

The most promising materials will be identified, before scaling up their synthesis and integrating them 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.

Project presentation from the Faraday Institution Conference, November 2021


  • Discover and develop enhanced performance cathodes with high energy densities.
  • Develop deeper understanding of the properties of nickel-rich and lithium-rich cathode materials.
  • Use experiment, modelling, processing and cell performance evaluation to establish feedback between understanding of current systems and the properties of new materials.
  • Exploit new knowledge to inform the discovery of novel oxide and mixed-anion cathode materials that would increase battery energy density (to increase EV range).
  • Understand instability at the electrode/electrolyte interface and reduce performance losses using coatings or additives.
  • Connect basic science to the manufacturing process, with the most promising cathodes taken forward to synthesise at scale and assimilation in battery cells, thereby demonstrating their performance in real devices for potential commercial applications.
  • Build on partnerships with industry for pathways to technological impact.

Project funding
1 October 2019 - 30 September 2023
Principal Investigator
Professor Saiful Islam
University of Oxford

Project Leader
Dr Benjamin Morgan
University of Bath
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)
+ 15 Industrial Partners


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