Ilika researchers advancing the science of solid state batteries in the UK
The Pathway from Micro Solid State to EV Batteries
By Bill Moore
Think solid state batteries are still on the horizon? Think again, they're already here and powering everything from IoT sensors to medical implants, but that's just the beginning, as Ilika's CEO, Graeme Purdy explains.
We know that Toyota has said it wouldn't get serious about building battery electric vehicles until they had perfected the solid state battery. In the meantime they'd stick with trusted, reliable NiMH for most of their hybrids. They know it works. I still see generation one Priuses on the road. In fact, our 2009 Prius got passed by one on Interstate 80 in western Iowa this past weekend. I can't imagine how many miles are on its odometer.
And while other carmakers are pretty much following Tesla's lead and have gone the lithium battery route, Toyota quietly turned to a small UK startup out of Southampton on the English channel with orders to explore various materials Toyota researchers had identified that could be used for a solid state battery, one that eliminates the flammability inherent in the electrolyte found in today's lithium-ion cells.
That company is Ilika Technologies Ltd. Founded in 2004 out of the School of Chemistry at the University of Southampton, it has been exploring and evaluating all kinds of materials, not just batteries, from self-healing alloys to fuel cell catalysts.
Ilika’s CEO is Graeme Purdy and I spoke with him via phone late in the afternoon his time. We opened the conversation by asking him about Ilika and its participating in the Faraday Battery Challenge which is described as a “ 30-month collaborative project will develop a lithium based solid-state Stereax® battery for plug in hybrid and electric vehicles, establish a pre-pilot line for solid-state battery cell technology and develop processes for a solid-state materials supply chain.”
In this 35-minute dialogue, Graeme explains how Toyota’s original commission led to the development of the Stereax micro cells and how they can ultimately lead to large pouch format solid state batteries for use in electric vehicles. He explains their business model and forecasts when he thinks the first commercial-produced EV with solid state batteries is likely to appear.
To listen to the entire conversation, use the embedded MP3 player below or download the file to your network for playback on any mobile device.
Originally published: 08 Nov 2018
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