H1PERBAT - High Performance Battery Pilot Facility
APC, Innovate UK
WAE (Lead), AML, CU, WMG, Aspire, UPA, NCC, PRODUCTIV
Jan 2017 to Feb 2020
A key barrier to adoption of zero emission fully electric vehicles (EV) is the UK/global void in technology/manufacturing capability for high energy batteries. This business-led collaborative Industrial Research project between multiple globally recognised UK leaders in core technology and manufacturing innovation, seeks to address this need by:
1) realising a novel battery technology with unique flexibility and module/system level performance; and 2) establishing a UK pilot manufacturing facility for high performance batteries.
Led by Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), the consortium also includes Aston Martin Lagonda (AML), Unipart Powertrain Applications (UPA), Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), National Composites Centre (NCC), Coventry University, Aspire Engineering (AE) and Productiv (PD), enabling representation across the entire value chain for future EVs to capitalise on and catalyse further UK-wide expertise in low carbon vehicles through vital knowledge transfer.
The H1PERBAT project took an integrated approach to remove fundamental constraints on capacity, energy density and thermal management of EV batteries, and will realise a step change in system performance. Similarly, the test/optimisation of durability, integrity and safety of technology from cell, module and system level up to validated vehicle integration is targeted.
The novel scalable pilot facility will realise unprecedented UK capability in module/system-level R&D/testing and low/medium volume production and flexibly target UK/global EV OEMs. The disruptive cradle-to-grave solution will be a launch pad to achieve engineering excellence in tier 1 (re)manufacture of high performance EV batteries across the supply chain.
Validation of technology/production alongside AML's ground-breaking BEV programme will show that disruptive EV battery technologies can enable feasible like-for-like zero-emission alternatives to internal combustion engine cars across all vehicle types and applications.
Joining Objective 1 - assessment of types of joint
The joining of bi-metallic materials is of paramount importance to achieve high efficiency electrical transfer across battery terminals whilst simultaneously achieving durability at that junction. To mitigate electrical losses through indicative resistivity effects between 'hard junctions' that give rise to the 'Peltier effect' and in some cases decompose electrolytically if in the presence of certain media, our first objective will be to undertake research into determining the appropriate method of joining for a production environment that underpins the 3R philosophy. Therefore an assessment of permanent and semipermanent joints will be undertaken.
Joining Objective 2 - research into materials, joining and inspection processes
The definition of a permanent joint in this context is one where the connectivity across an electrical junction creates a zone of adhesion at a temperature above 450oC; a semi-permanent junction is created at temperatures below this figure. To complete this task the team will undertake research into advanced joining techniques and materials capable of controlling the adhesion levels across the 'hard junction' interface in a high-throughput production environment that delivers an optimised resistivity, durability and recyclable capability.
The project will conduct research into the area of novel tooling that allows for high quality adhesion and conductivity inspection that promote the capability of delivering durable and recyclable products.This work will contribute to the transportation and energy sectors in aiding their goal of limiting transmission losses (electrically and thermally) at known junctions.This project will be controlled via the Figure of Merit approach that deploys the TRL/MRL ethos.
Metrology Objective 3 - Autonomous metrology
The objective for metrology is to have autonomous, in-line metrology systems which will measure, monitor and intervene before the point of process failure, as determined by process capability launch data analysis. This is vital for process innovation and product integrity in a complex manufacturing process. Autonomous production lines of this nature are integral with Industry 4.0 high level objectives. Metrology will be designed into the process and used to provide in-process, in-cycle time decision making and process improvement adjustments. This will require state-of-the-art optical scanning technology, underpinned by robust gauging.
This research will be disseminated to the manufacturing community through CU's training and CPD programmes, delivered nationally. The project will be used as a case study for the application of best practice metrology in optimising production processes in an industrial environment.
The benefits to companies that adopt such practices will be reduced wastage through higher productivity, reduced energy consumption and greater production flexibility. This in turn enables companies to have greater agility in responding to changes in market demand and thus reduce time to market.
Measurement institutes, such as NPL, provide the measurement capability that underpins the UK's prosperity and quality of life. The project metrology activities and deliverables support NPL in their activities to promote smart and interconnected measurement for large-scale, multi-measurement systems by measuring the effects of proposed changes to a current baseline model with known performance.
The project deliverables support promotion of the advancement of joining technology and knowledge (strategic goals within Coventry University and The Welding Institute) and actively promotes the transfer and exchange of technical information on joining science, as well as exploit the latest developments in information and communications knowledge. The advancement of controlling adhesion between dissimilar metals to reduce resistivity whilst simultaneously delivering durability and recyclability will have a major impact on the environmental aspects through improved product life-cycles.
The knowledge gained from this research will be recycled into Coventry University's manufacturing, engineering and automotive degree and the AME's education and training philosophy. This will provide a strong basis to invoke the qualification of welding operators in accordance with ISO 14732 thereby enhancing our domestic skills base.
Furthermore, the development of a specific standard for joining materials that enhance electrical conductivity could be embedded in electrical vehicle manufacturing standards.
Our industry partners will be major beneficiaries by gaining new knowledge from the research collaboration and exploiting the research results within their manufacturing communities and supply chains.
Regional impact - By developing new products and processes, the West Midlands will increase its competitiveness and support its position as one of the international centres of manufacturing. This project will have a positive impact in the region by stimulating greater innovation and R&D performance, by increasing productivity and competitiveness as well as by creating and safeguarding jobs in the region.
Contribution to UK robot market: The number of robot orders in the UK decreased by 15.76% to 2,094 units in 2014 where there was a significant increase globally (29% increase with total orders of 229,261 units). Where the UK ordered 2,094 (a
decrease 392) robots, Germany ordered 20,041 (an increase of 1754) in the year 2014.
Within the EU, Germany is the largest robot market followed by Italy, France and Spain. With higher labour costs, the UK needs to demonstrate successful intake of robots for low skilled tasks. This project will contribute towards improving the UK robot market and UK productivity. A successful delivery of the project by a large manufacturer will promote the use of robots in medium and high value manufacturing.
Social impact - This project will contribute to the creation of higher skilled (and so higher paid) jobs in the metrology, joining and automated system programming and systems integration fields. Furthermore, speed of innovation will be accelerated so providing better product more quickly to society.
Environmental impact - Cars are responsible for around 12% of total EU emissions of CO2. This project will reduce both CO2 fleet emissions and national dependence on oil through replacement of hydrocarbon fuel with electrical power.