MagLiB, A research team based at University College London uncovered a ground-breaking technology to significantly reduce the charging times of lithium-ion batteries. This could profoundly enhance the performance of electric vehicles and other devices like smart watches and mobile phones.
With current non-rapid chargers, it can take hours to fill up an electric vehicle, but with this new technology, a driver could grab a coffee and find their car sufficiently charged.
Ian Ellerington, Head of Technology Transfer at the Faraday Institution, the UK’s flagship battery research programme, praised the work done by the team.
He said: “We believe that the MagLiB fast-charging battery is a unique approach to design of high-performance battery packs.
“The technology potentially enables higher performance and longer life of any battery system so that power tools will last longer, electric vehicles can be driven further and batteries become more cost effective on the electricity grid.”
As a result of their work, MagLiB won the Emerging Technologies Competition final, earning them £20,000 in prize money and 12 months of one-to-one support from a specially assigned mentor from the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Recent research on behalf of Ofgem found that one in four customers plan to buy an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid in the next four years.
Despite this, 38 percent said they were unlikely to do so.
The main reason for their reluctance was short battery life or range of driving on one charge.
Having nowhere to charge their electric vehicle close to home was also a major worry for 36 percent of people surveyed.
Thomas Heenan, leader of the research team at MagLiB, commented on his teams’ prize win.
He said: “This win will accelerate our transition out of the university environment into industry, and the funds will enable us to embark on partner projects including prototypes and pilot lines.
“The recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry will be a key enabler in attracting additional funding and getting up and running with the partnerships that we want to establish.
“We know what we do works, but to know that other people are interested in it too, and to go through the shortlisting stage and the panel – you can’t quantify it!”
Emerging Technologies Competition winners from previous years have expanded overseas, entered commercial contracts, conducted clinical and industrial-scale trials, and collectively doubled their staff.
They have also raised a combined total of over £116million in equity investment and grant funding.
It is hoped that this new technology will revolutionise charging speeds and make the EV chargepoint infrastructure more streamlined.