The proliferation of batteries is on the rise. With an ever-connected world needing power supplies to run even everyday tasks, batteries are being put to the ultimate test. We take a step back and look at what the future looks like for the batteries market and how innovative collaboration can drive forward the next generation of power sources. Answers from Victoria Doherty from our batteries team, as well as insights from John Fox from our research and manufacturing partners, AMTE Power, can be seen below.
Where are the biggest technical innovations in the battery and power industry?
Victoria – Across so many industries there is both an increasing reliance on power and a real drive away from traditional, fossil fuels. Energy storage innovations include batteries in new formats, integrated with new, high performance materials and tailored to suit specific needs. One of the interesting developments we’ve seen is in the software to manage hybrid and structurally integrated batteries. Smart energy storage needs to consider how you get the power to where it is needed as efficiently as possible in addition to storage and safety of the product – this challenge itself is a fantastic opportunity for innovation and development.
John - Customers are always looking to differentiate. This is difficult in batteries when the market is dominated by very large manufacturers who need to produce in mass volumes to meet market demand. However, we have been able to really aid innovation across the industry and fill this space providing niche solutions that provide a real difference.
What are the biggest challenges you face within manufacturing?
Victoria, – We pride ourselves on producing excellent state-of-the-art products which hope to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. Most of the work we do is bespoke and niche, which is where we see challenges with manufacture. Creating new solutions and prototypes often means we produce small numbers of each type, and we need to ensure we provide precision work to make sure that what’s produced meets our customers’ demanding specifications.
John – For us, working within manufacturing we face challenges with using new materials and their supply chains. We need to make sure we have access to these materials as quickly and easily as possible, any uncertainty of material supply could hinder manufacture.
What are the advantages of having a Research & Development partnership in the UK, such as that between QinetiQ and AMTE?
Victoria – Excellent integration between Research & Development and manufacture is essential to create products that are world-leading, even more so for specialised applications. A partnership such as this one ensures that new products and technology can be incrementally updated as science reveals new material combinations, cell architectures or other adaptations that will give our customers the advantage they need.
John - AMTE Power has been at the forefront of cell research and development, for a number of years. Our production scale facility allows our innovation partners, such as QinetiQ, to scale up from lab to production, as efficiently as possible. We use the same process and equipment adopted by the large industrial manufacturers, but provide flexibility in pre-production testing environments that can help technology break-through from concept to production as efficiently as possible. Partnerships like this enable solutions to be developed as quickly and safely as possible.
Batteries and power sources is a fast growing and important area in modern society. We are excited to be attending the Battery Tech Expo this week but if you have any questions about out work in batteries, power or innovation generally, please do get in touch.
You can also read more about battery testing and assurance in our recent blog – Batteries go bang!