The University of Birmingham and Imperial College London have set up a new spinout to commercialise battery modelling technology to speed up prototype development.
Accurate battery models are an important enabler for growth across the sector, including in cell design and the development of battery management systems and associated product warranties.
The battery modelling capability in About:Energy was developed by the Faraday Institution’s Multi-scale Modelling Project, which has developed fast, reliable, accurate and versatile digital twins. These predictive computer simulations can reduce costs and delays that arise when creating numerous physical prototypes to test novel combinations of materials and cell design. Both Imperial College London and the University of Birmingham have expertise in parameterisation, which involves extracting the experimental data that is used to construct battery models. Imperial is also working with Silver Power System (SPS) in Swindon, UK, on battery digital twins
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About:Energy will be a consultancy business, based on a bespoke, patented measurement method. It has has been awarded a Faraday Institution Entrepreneurial Fellowship to fund the purchase of dedicated testing equipment that will reduce bottlenecks and provide a more responsive parameterisation service. The company will also tap the expertise of its founders, who include Professor Emma Kendrick and PhD student Kieran O’Regan from Birmingham’s School of Metallurgy and Materials, and Professor Greg Offer, Dr Yatish Patel, and Gavin White from Imperial College London and Dr Alastair Hales (formerly Imperial College London, now at University of Bristol). About:Energy will also benefit from the experience of Neil Morris who is a former CEO of the Faraday Institution.
“Battery models are used to power our everyday lives, from mobile phones to gigafactories, by enabling predictions about performance to be made. These predictions are used to optimise the application and design of battery technologies. However, the reliability of the predictions is dependent on the accuracy of the input parameters, which is a complex issue because battery performance has many interdependencies,” said O’Regan.
“About:Energy brings together expertise in battery characterisation and an understanding of how to package this information into a model. This allows us to quickly provide accurate models tailored to specific battery technologies, enabling our customers to build innovative products and shorten their prototyping and development cycles,” said White.
The founders of the company have already helped two battery technology spinouts: Qdot, which is developing battery thermal management and integrated hybrid propulsion to enable clean flight and Breathe Battery Technologies, which is developing advanced battery management algorithms to improve charge times, range and lifetime. Both Qdot and Breathe Battery Technologies have previously been awarded Faraday Institution Entrepreneurial Fellowships.
The company has already secured their first order from a large UK-based OEM and are in discussions with many leading automotive and technology companies.
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