Lithium Ion Cathode Materials – FutureCat

FutureCat brings together world-leading expertise in the UK battery field, with solid-state inorganic chemistry, polymer science, mechanical and thin-film engineering, computational analyses, chemical processing and state-of-the art characterisation to discover, develop and deploy next generation Li-ion cathodes. Layered nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathodes represent the current state-of-the-art, with the aim of moving to higher nickel-content to improve energy density and lower costs by reducing expensive cobalt dependency. Increasingly, cation-disordered rock salts are also emerging as high energy density cathodes. However, there remain persistent challenges in synthesis and scale-up, maintaining reversible capacities and optimising performance through fundamental understanding.

FutureCat will deliver significant energy density increases through high-capacity targeted-disorder and novel mixed-anion cathodes permitting multiple redox activity. Costs will be reduced by systematically reducing/ultimately eliminating cobalt-content. The consortium is also discovering new cathode chemistries and developing protective coatings/additives to extend lifetimes and reduce costs. The project’s holistic approach combines complex atomic-level structure prediction, synthetic methodology development, full battery protocol and cell-testing development, novel computational/AI approaches and state-of-the-art structure and dynamics analyses to garner those critical insights that fast-track cathode optimisation and enable new discoveries.

Project presentation from the Faraday Institution Conference, November 2021


  • Deliver new compliant electrode topologies highly resistant to fracture and extend battery life through novel approaches to morphologies and microstructures.
  • Develop protective coatings and new electrolyte additives to increase power densities through faster interfacial ion transport and prevent active material erosion thus extending lifetime and reducing cost.
  • Discover new cathode materials through a co-ordinated computational-experimental design approach, where cation and cation-plus-anion redox-activity and increased application of earth-abundant elements will increase energy densities and reduce costs.

Project funding
1 October 2019 – 30 September 2023
Principal Investigator
Professor Serena Cussen
University of Sheffield

Project Leaders
Dr Alisyn Nedoma
University of Sheffield
Dr Sam Booth
University of Sheffield
University Partners
University of Sheffield (Lead)
University of Cambridge
University College London
Lancaster University
University of Oxford
Research Organisations, Facilities and Institutes
ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (STFC)
National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
+ 8 Industrial Partners


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