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Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre

Two engineers at work in the Energy Storage lab in the GEIC

Energy storage

Graphene seems to offer an ideal solution to many of the materials requirements for batteries and supercapacitors.

If you had a really good battery, it wouldn't matter that the sun goes down at night and the wind stops blowing.

Nathan Myhrvold / Visionary technology and business leader

It has lots of surface area for the physical and chemical mechanisms of energy storage to occur whilst being one of the most electrically conductive materials yet known.

The GEIC Energy Laboratory gives our members and project partners access to what is in essence a miniature production line for battery and supercapacitor coin and pouch cells. Couple this with support of the unrivalled expertise of this wonder material found at The University of Manchester and we believe we have the ideal recipe for success in development of fully scalable routes to advanced energy storage devices.  

Flow diagram of battery production in the GEIC Energy Storage lab

Most energy storage device production follows the same basic pathway (see figure above);

  1. Produce a battery/supercapacitor coating slurry.
  2. Coat a substrate with this and cure to produce a functioning electrode.
  3. Calendar (squash) the electrodes to optimise the structure and conductivity.
  4. Form the physical architecture of the device.
  5. Fill the device with electrolyte
  6. Conduct a formation cycle to ensure the cells are working properly.
  7. Test the cell performance.

Our team is available to help devise projects, guide product development and undertake research in collaboration with our members. We work with a number of UK and international partners to give our members access to world class expertise and develop prototype devices. 

The services we offer are can be collated into four packages which cover the range of our capabilities. These are broadly in-line with standard practices but The GEIC also offers the opportunity to include modular technology in order to incorporate more disruptive techniques where appropriate. All of these packages can of course be tailored to deliver a package of work which meet your specific requirements.

Formulation

Our formulation package is designed to give access to all necessary equipment for formulation development of electrode coating slurries featuring advanced materials such as graphene.

This package includes:

  • Dedicated bench space and fume cupboard access
  • Tools such as planetary vacuum mixers and vortex mixers for production of coatings
  • Automated film former to test the quality of the coating and suitability to scale-up
  • Characterisation of electrical performance, rheological properties, dispersion and particle size analysis
  • Access to -40C dew point dry room (optional)
  • Access to argon-fed glove boxes (optional)

This package allows our members to design, formulate and test new electrode slurries using their chosen materials for downstream production and testing of electrodes.

Please contact us for more information on pricing and availability.

Electrode production

This package will develop scalable processes for production of electrodes. The package includes:

  • Bench scale (<A3) production of coated substrates
  • Process development and parameter specification for roll-to-roll manufacture of coated, heat-cured and calendared electrodes (on roll)
  • Semi-automated cutting of coated electrodes to specific dimensions
  • Modular capabilities also include electrode and/or (micro)device development via:
    • UV-cure of coating slurries
    • plasma etching of substrates
    • screen printing
    • ink jet printing
    • conventional spray
    • ultrasonic spray pyrolysis
    • chemical vapour deposition (CVD) of thin films such as monolayer graphene
    • other methods by request
    • Access to -40C dew point dry room (optional)
    • Access to argon fed glove boxes (optional)

Please contact us for more information on pricing and availability.

Cell assembly

This package aims to develop fully scalable processes in order to produce stacked or wound electrode structures - which are the heart of the energy storage device - and build them into working pouch cells. Our standard pouch cell dimensions are 53.5x35mm but we can accommodate other dimensions by request. We can also produce coin cells in order to perform smaller scale testing.

This package includes:

  • Coin cell production capability
  • Access to automated cell stacking facility
  • Access to automated winding facility
  • Pouch formation and sealing
  • Automated electrolyte injection
  • Formation cycling
  • Access to -40C dew point dry room (optional)
  • Access to argon fed glove boxes (optional)

 Please contact us for more information on pricing and availability.

Materials, component and cell testing

This package includes access to extensive testing capability including:

  • Rotating disk electrode for analysis of the electrochemical performance of raw materials and their suitability to energy applications
  • Battery/supercapacitor cycling to analyse performance and durability of energy storage devices
  • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (including high current capability) for analysis of individual components within the device
  • Testing of cell performance within simulated environmental conditions (by arrangement)
  • Analysis of electrode structures at start-of-life
  • Analysis of electrode structures at end-of-life (by arrangement)
  • Access to fuel cell and redox battery testing facilities (by arrangement)

Please contact us for more information on pricing and availability.

Our team

Craig Dawson, application manager, Energy lab

Welcome to the GEIC Energy Laboratory. My team and I are here to support you in exploring what 2D materials have to offer your business and to guide your choice of materials, experimental design and product development. We are experienced in statistical experimental design, which can dramatically reduce the amount of variables tested for a specific outcome, offering value for money. We are always happy to discuss new ideas, concepts and projects.

Craig Dawson / Application Manager