Researcher in Residence: Powering up battery anodes for a greener future

A groundbreaking research project is set to revolutionise energy storage with a focus on industry-relevant performance testing of battery anodes. Developed through a sustainable and scalable method, this Researcher in Residence project, led by Siddharth Patwardhan from the University of Sheffield and Warwick Manufacturing Group (part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult) addresses the critical need for advancements in energy storage technologies to lower carbon emissions and accommodate the growing demand for electrification.

As modern society pivots towards sustainable practices, the demand for efficient and eco-friendly energy storage solutions has never been more critical. Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) have emerged as the preferred method, yet the need to reduce manufacturing costs, increase energy densities, and enable faster charging is paramount for future viability.

Porous silicon, recognised as one of the most promising materials for battery anodes, presents a game-changing opportunity. Its unique ability to store almost 10 times more charge than conventional graphite makes it a frontrunner for the next generation of batteries. However, incorporating porous silicon into commercial batteries has been a formidable challenge due to the difficulty of achieving the desired structure and properties.

Enter Siddharth Patwardhan and their team, who have devised a low-temperature and cost-effective method to produce high-grade porous silicon at scale. This innovation opens the door to unlocking the full potential of porous silicon in commercial batteries, promising a significant leap in energy storage capabilities.

Industry-Relevant Performance Testing: The project will conduct extensive commercially-relevant performance testing of battery anodes produced through the groundbreaking method, ensuring practical viability and real-world applicability.

Bulk Manufacturing of Porous Silicon: The ultimate goal is to pioneer the first economical and sustainable bulk manufacturing process for porous silicon, laying the foundation for the next generation of batteries.

Siddharth Patwardhan shared their enthusiasm about the project: “Our research is not just about advancing technology; it’s about providing a sustainable solution to the pressing energy storage challenges of our time. By making porous silicon a practical reality in commercial batteries, we aim to contribute significantly to the global transition towards cleaner and more efficient energy usage.”

This project aligns with the broader commitment to sustainable energy practices and offers a glimpse into the future of advanced battery technology.

Do you have a research idea like this one? Tranche 3 of our Researcher in Residence scheme will open in 2024. 

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