CPI joins ALBATROSS project to enhance next-generation EV battery packs

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CPI, the independent technology innovation centre and a founding member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, is joining the Advanced Light-weight BATteRy systems Optimised for fast charging, Safety, and Second-life applications (ALBATROSS) project.

Electric vehicles (EVs) have an increasingly important role in meeting climate targets worldwide; but issues around battery durability, lifespan and charging times have tended to limit their widespread adoption.

Looking to overcome these limitations and reduce buyer hesitation, the ALBATROSS project is developing advanced battery pack designs for EVs, that could help to boost the sales of EVs, significantly reducing carbon emissions while helping European vehicle manufacturers gain a commercial advantage.

ALBATROSS represents a pan-European EU consortium, coordinated by Yesilova Holding, with twenty-one partners, including European SMEs and key global automotive industry organisations. Work commenced at the beginning of 2021 and will continue until December 2024. As part of their programme supporting smart, green and integrated transport, EU Horizon 2020 is providing 9.9 million in funding.

Central to this project is the reengineering of a BMW i3 all-electric vehicle battery pack. The goal is to improve its current capacity and driving range by replacing a Lithium-Manganese battery with cells containing a Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt blend. This will help to achieve a Peak Energy Density of >200Wh/kg and prolong battery lifespan. In addition to a 20% weight reduction, the new design will increase surface area to enhance cooling.

Combined with innovative thermal management and sensor technologies, the novel battery pack would enable a rapid charging time of only 30 minutes.

This project aims to develop a battery pack that is not only more efficient than alternatives on the market but is also scalable to other vehicle types and greener. While the initial design is based on improvements to the battery pack of a BMW i3, ALBATROSS intends to deliver battery packs that can be applied to delivery vans, buses and heavy-duty vehicles. Another objective is to develop sustainable end-of-life solutions and processes allowing battery pack components to be dismantled, repurposed or recycled safely, with ease.

CPI’s extensive expertise in printed electronics and sensors, electronic materials and roll to roll processing is seen as having a crucial role within the project. CPI will be working in close collaboration with PST Sensors Europe, a UK-based high-tech SME specialising in unique thermal sensors and heaters. Together, they will jointly lead the development of printed sensors and heaters combined with hybrid electronic assemblies to enhance battery performance and temperature control. CPI will also be involved in integrating, demonstrating and testing the ALBATROSS battery pack at a module level.

According to Dave Barwick, Technology Manager at CPI, “This project to advance technology for electric vehicles presents an exciting opportunity for CPI to further develop and utilise its capabilities in the energy storage space. Through it, we are very much looking forward to building relationships with prolific partners across Europe and contributing to the optimisation of electric vehicle batteries to support the drive towards net zero.”