Funding awarded to accelerate battery research

Birmingham researchers developing novel battery recycling techniques have been awarded funding by the Faraday Institution as part of a £29m package to re-focus and accelerate key battery research projects which have been reshaped to focus on areas with the greatest potential for success.

Four of the six projects funded involve the University of Birmingham, and these include the Reuse and Recycling of Lithium Ion Batteries (ReLIB) project.

Led by Professor Paul Anderson, Co-Director of the Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials at Birmingham’s School of Chemistry, ReLIB aims to develop and scale novel recycling technologies that recover valuable materials from end-of-life lithium ion batteries used to power electric vehicles.

The ReLIB project also draws on the expertise of researchers at the universities of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Leicester, Newcastle and University College London, and aims to improve current industry practices to beyond 90% efficiency.

ReLIB has already seen considerable success, filing several patents since the project started.

In the next five years ReLIB researchers will develop, improve and scale technologies, and are looking for long-term commercial partners to participate in pilot studies, incorporate these technologies in their existing processes, or collaborate on further research.

Professor Anderson said: “Despite a proliferation of companies collecting and processing lithium ion batteries for recycling it remains uneconomic to recover most of the components, and materials recovery rates remain low. With the support of this additional funding the ReLiB project will be able to focus efforts on providing effective recycling routes for hard to recycle components and valorizing low value recovered material streams.”

Professor Pam Thomas, CEO of the Faraday Institution said: “The Faraday Institution is committed to identifying and investing in the most promising and impactful battery research initiatives.  This project refocusing is an important part of that process, and allows us to direct even more effort towards those areas of research that offer the maximum potential of delivering commercial, societal and environment impact.”

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