University Challenge

University Challenge
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Could new battery technology lead to a greater take-up of electric vehicles? PMF learns of a research project being undertaken by Cranfield University.

Cranfield University is partnering with other European organisations in a £7 million research and development project, with aims of developing high energy, safe lithium-sulfur batteries for electric vehicles. Improving lithium-sulfur technology could be a key factor in stimulating the adoption of electric vehicles on a mass scale.

The project ‘Lithium-sulfur for safe road electrification’ (LISA), which is being led by Leitat in Spain, will last for 43 months, featuring a total of 13 organisations from across Europe.

LISA aims to develop high energy and safe lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery cells with hybrid solid state, non-flammable electrolytes for automotive integration. A target has also been set for production cost, as it is the main selection criteria for batteries in electrified vehicles.

Li-S technology has three main advantages over the commonly used lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries:

    • A Li-S battery can be twice as light, impacting vehicle weight
    • Li-S batteries have a higher theoretical energy density
    • Produced with a low environmental impact technology, fully compatible with mass production by green and low- energy processes, delivering a technology free of critical raw materials and toxic components

Dr Daniel Auger, Principal Investigator for Cranfield’s work packages and Senior Lecturer in control and vehicle systems, said, “LISA will allow us to continue to advance Cranfield’s specialist battery management technology, which is vital in lightweight Li-S batteries. We will be able to extend our systems for an even wider variety of operating conditions, giving improved range and better insight into battery health.”

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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