Batt2TheFuture: Second life batteries for future applications
The decarbonisation of the transport sector in the UK will see the migration from solely internal combustion powered vehicles to electric or hybrid vehicles only, as early as 2030. This will result in the exponential growth of spent Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries stockpiled, as they must be replaced every 7-10 years. After this period, the EV batteries may still hold as much as 80% of their capacity, which often can be used in other applications. In Batt2TheFuture, a fast automated process will be developed to enable fast sorting of battery cells to rebuild high quality and consistent second-generation battery packs.
Batt2TheFuture is an automated process that uses disruptive ultrasound technology and AI algorithms to inspect and grade spent battery cells. The process inspects each cell from a battery pack/module and then grades them according to their respective State of Health (SoH) and State of Charge (SoC). The technology combination enables in-depth inspection, increased speed of cell assessment and processing capacity scalability - these have been missing in current spent battery inspection solutions on the market.
Based on the results of the assessment, the cells are sorted and refurbished in preparation for their second-life. The repurposed battery packs are then deployed to applications whose power requirements align with their SoH and SoC values. Currently, the evaluation of SoH and SoC takes hours which is not practical for processing large quantities of cells. Moreover, the process of dismantling and testing cells is not competitive in UK as it is a labour-intensive task. The automation of this process will allow reducing the cost and increasing the UK competitiveness in the 2nd life battery industry. This will also have an environmental impact thereby drastically reducing battery waste and an economic one thanks to reducing the lifetime cost of the battery.
Therefore, Batt2TheFuture will facilitate the utilisation of the full value of spent EV batteries as well as contributing towards ensuring that the decarbonisation of the transport sector will not just be a transfer of carbon emissions from the vehicles themselves to battery raw material extraction.
This project will provide new capabilities in ultrasonic based inspection and grading of cells that will set the first step towards the development of the high throughput and economically viable second-life battery facilities in the UK that can out-perform global competitors.
- Increased throughput - Batt2TheFuture will work at a rate previously unavailable to the market (1-second/cell).
- Increased recovery - manufacturers will recover all viable cells including those condemned when module level inspection is used.
- Increased product quality -- The quality of each cell used for second-life battery can be guaranteed thereby boosting the reputation manufacturer in the market.
- Pre-emptive regulatory compliance --EV battery recycling is clearly going to put the onus on manufacturers, hence Batt2TheFuture will allow local manufacturers to get ahead as well as setting the industrial standard in the UK
Brunel Innovation Centre's Role
Brunel Innovation Centre will provide the ultrasonic technology that will be used to inspect the EV battery cells' SoC and SoH. They will also provide the AI algorithms that will be used for in-line inspection quality control in addition to cell assessment and classification.
The main objectives are:
- Selection of transducer/receiver for data acquisition on SOH and battery failure.
- Optimisation of the operation parameters of the ultrasonic transducers to acquire reliable and repeatable data.
- Topology and transducer mounting design to optimise the system performance.
- Combination of signal processing and machine learning for reliable and near instantaneous determination of the SoH tailored to different battery cell designs and capacities.
- INNVOTEK LTD
- ACELERON LIMITED
- MEV LIMITED
- BRUNEL UNIVERSITY LONDON
Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project
Professor Tat-Hean Gan - Professional Qualifications CEng. IntPE (UK), Eur Ing BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronics Engg (Uni of Nottingham) MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering (University of Warwick) MBA in International Business (University of Birmingham) PhD in Engineering (University of Warwick) Languages English, Malaysian, Mandarin, Cantonese Professional Bodies Fellow of the British Institute of NDT Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology Tat-Hean Gan has 10 years of experience in Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and Condition Monitoring of rotating machineries in various industries namely nuclear, renewable energy (eg Wind, Wave ad Tidal), Oil and Gas, Petrochemical, Construction and Infrastructure, Aerospace and Automotive. He is the Director of BIC, leading activities varying from Research and development to commercialisation in the areas of novel technique development, sensor applications, signal and image processing, numerical modelling and electronics hardware. His experience is also in Collaborative funding (EC FP7 and UK TSB), project management and technology commercialisation.