The UK Government recently announced that new funding will be available for research around clean and flexible energy. Termed the ‘Faraday Challenge’, the funding has been described as “an investment of £246 million over 4 years to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy, to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the electrification of vehicles”. While research included within this brief will be diverse, looking at all aspects of a battery and manufacturing processes, the question of whether graphene and related materials will find a home in this competition has come up many times already.
Research around graphene and graphene oxide in battery applications is wide ranging, with the materials most frequently considered for use in the electrodes, often as composites. The two-dimensional nature of these materials can be exploited to achieve high surface area materials, often enhancing the performance of existing materials. The possibilities are not limited to the electrodes though, graphene oxide has a broad range of properties which could be exploited in future generations of batteries. One potential example would be the continued use of these materials in composites, used to increase the mechanical strength of polymers. Improvements in this area could be employed in new housing for batteries, to increase the safety of the driver if the battery pack was impacted during a traffic accident.
The possibilities for graphene oxide in future generations of batteries is diverse, with opportunities presented in many aspects of the global transition into mainstream hybrid and electric vehicles. William Blythe has participated in Innovate UK funding previously and had an active interest in projects related to energy storage – with and without the inclusion of graphene oxide. If you have a project you would like to work on with William Blythe, please get in touch.