New research to improve battery performance

A new project aimed at harnessing quantum technology to improve vehicle battery performance has been awarded funding by the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing.

The project, led by University of Sussex researchers, aims to address the need to increase battery energy density, longevity and safety. It will mark the first time quantum sensors are used as a solution in battery innovation.

Improving vehicle battery technology is key in delivering the Government’s 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which confirmed the UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

The project, which also includes Strathclyde and Edinburgh universities as part of the consortium, aims to translate existing highly sensitive world-leading quantum magnetometer technology to an industrial-grade imaging device, to accurately examine the battery’s microscopic current flows.

This technology will facilitate rapid assessments of new and existing battery chemistries to accelerate the creation of superior battery technology.

As with all the technology in development, the aim is to develop small, low power, portable devices that require no infrastructure and minimal running costs, suitable for economical production. The increased battery energy and power density can also be exploited to continue the electrification transport, such as moving to electric aircrafts. 

Academics will also work closely with CDO2, Magnetic Shields Ltd and QinetiQ to work towards their goal of developing a viable sensor prototype ready for handover to industry for commercial exploitation.

Professor Peter Kruger, Research Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Sussex, said: “We hope, through this project, to initiate an increase in the creation of new battery technologies through a better understanding of battery performance. By facilitating improvements in battery energy density, manufacturing costs, battery lifetime and safety we hope to reduce carbon emissions and waste production globally.” 

David Woolger, Director at Magnetic Shields Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be providing the necessary equipment and facilities to help develop this imaging technology, and look forward to the next steps towards commercial exploitation.”

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