© University of Cambridge

A newly-established Cambridge research centre will work to develop next-generation batteries and battery materials, one of the major technological hurdles in the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

The WP-Cambridge Materials Innovation Centre (WP-CAMMIC) will be based at Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy (DMSM), supported by £7.2 million from the WP Investment Company (WPIC), a South Korean investment group.

Over the next five years, the funding will support the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment, funding for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers to carry out research in lithium-based energy storage technologies. The Centre will also focus on sustainable manufacturing and the circular economy, including recycling to develop battery materials with enhanced properties, writes the University of Cambridge in a press release.

Aiming for global impact on sustainability

“Sustainable energy storage is in the heart of powering a low-carbon future, including electric vehicle batteries and other applications in renewable energy development,” said Dr Lei Wang, Chair of WPIC and alumnus of the Cambridge Judge Business School. “We are excited to support the establishment and development of the WP-CAMMIC, and look forward to it growing into a centre with a global impact on sustainability.”

“The development of sustainable energy systems and applications is a key focus of WPIC,” said Tiffany Park, co-Chair of WPIC. “We are keen on pursuing new technologies through WP-CAMMIC to produce next-generation batteries that can keep pace with the speed of electrification in transportation.”

“Through the partnership with WP-CAMMIC, our researchers will design materials that enable new battery chemistries, use state-of-the-art techniques to gain new insight into their functionality, and develop new manufacturing methods to accelerate developments in batteries,” said Manish Chhowalla, Goldsmiths’ Professor of Materials Science in the DMSM, and Director of the new Centre.

Transitioning to a zero carbon economy

Professor Ramachandran Vasant Kumar, a leading figure in the recycling of batteries, is co-investigator for the new Centre. He said: “Building on the momentum generated over years of research on sustainable energy materials, this WPIC-funded project will use a holistic approach of how batteries are made, used and recycled.”

“New battery technology is a vital part of the transition to a zero-carbon economy,” said Professor Jason Robinson, joint Head of the DMSM. “This exciting initiative will further strengthen energy materials research in the Department, and the relationship with WPIC will be beneficial for both parties as we work to build a more sustainable future.”

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