2 minute read - 14th December 2023
Construction starts on new UKBIC battery laboratory
Construction work is now underway on the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre’s (UKBIC) new battery laboratory, which is due to come online during 2024. The enhanced laboratory will boost UKBIC’s capabilities in key areas of battery materials characterisation, cell analysis and forensic activities to support manufacturing development.
The laboratory – building on the national facility’s existing testing capabilities – will enable customer materials and cells manufactured and developed on site to be analysed and tested in real-time; and will use a broader array of techniques to provide the lineside data required throughout the scale-up journey.
UKBIC’s new 320m2 battery laboratory space will be four times the size of the Coventry-based facility’s existing testing laboratory. It will enable the characterisation of the products that are processed on UKBIC’s existing volume manufacturing line and will also support the new flexible development line which is due to come online in 2025. The new flexible line will bridge the gap between UKBIC’s existing industrialisation line and earlier Technology Readiness Level (TRL) kilogramme-scale R&D pilot lines available elsewhere.
The new capability will have five key areas of focus for manufacturing development:
Characterisation – for analytical analysis including material properties such as morphology, crystal structure, elemental and material components.
Chemical and physical processing – for the preparation of samples for characterisation and handling of more hazardous samples.
Forensics – for the teardown of cells to investigate cell properties and failure modes.
Electrochemistry – for advanced electrochemical analysis of manufactured cells including extended cycling and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.
CT scanner – This enables non-destructive analysis of cells to understand issues and potential failure modes without the need to physically teardown the cell.
Funding for the new laboratory is being provided by UK Research and Innovation, via the Faraday Battery Challenge, a £610m investment programme which supports world-class scientific technology development and manufacturing scale-up capability for batteries in the UK.
Sean Gilgunn, UKBIC’s managing director, said: “The new battery laboratory will be a fantastic resource for our customers in the analysis of battery cells and their components during process development. Being able to better understand the materials and the issues that can occur during the manufacturing scale up process will help our customers develop their battery technologies much more efficiently. Having the capability available on site will be an incredible resource for UKBIC.”
Tony Harper, director of the Faraday Battery Challenge, added: “Having this additional on-site resource will further optimise the industrialisation process for users. Technology developers require significant amounts of continual feedback and data as they develop and scale new manufacturing processes towards commercial production. Having real-time access to this new lineside equipment at UKBIC further enhances the UK’s position in supporting effective battery technology scale-up.”