Stephenson Institute celebrates first European project

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Dr. Laurence Hardwick and Dr. Gilberto Teobaldi, Lecturers in the Department of Chemistry and members of the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy have received four and a half million euros from the European Commission to coordinate the project SIRBATT (Stable Interfaces for Rechargeable Batteries), making this the first new EC project based at the Institute.

SIRBATT is a multisite collaborative project within the European Commission’s FP7 Cooperation (Energy) programme.  The consortium consists of 12 full partners from the European Area (six universities, one research institute and five industrial partners). In addition, the project has an International Advisory Board of four leading battery research groups in the USA and Japan.

The scientific aim of SIRBATT is a radical improvement in the fundamental understanding of the structure and reactions occurring at lithium battery electrode/electrolyte interfaces which it will seek to achieve through an innovative programme of collaborative research and development. The diversity of the research organisations in the partnership has been chosen to provide a wide range of complementary expertise in areas relating to the study of battery electrode interfaces, covering both experimental and theoretical aspects of this important contemporary area.

This project will develop micro-sensors to monitor the internal temperature and pressure of lithium cells in order to maintain optimum operating conditions to allow longer battery life times that can be scaled for use in industrial grid scale batteries. The lithium cells will comprise of candidate electrode materials in which the complex interfacial region and surface layers have been characterised in detail. This will be undertaken via the SIRBATT partner’s utilisation of a suit of advanced in situ measurement spectroscopic and diffraction techniques, which will be complemented by application of transformative computational modelling methods.

Dr Laurence Hardwick said: “We are delighted to be awarded these funds from the European Union., as it will support world-leading research on energy storage and advanced materials and strengthens research collaboration and ties with our European partners.”

“The development of national scale electricity storage promises massive benefits - in terms of savings on UK energy spend and in environmental benefits as it enables greater penetration of renewable generation technologies and a more reliable and stable electricity grid.”

“The knowledge from these studies will be used to develop candidate electrode materials with an optimised cycle life and stability, which will enable a battery to have a useful lifetime of 15+ years. Within this research project it is therefore possible to have side benefits that will trickle down to other applications such consumer electronics. Imagine having a laptop battery that does not lose performance over time!”

SIRBATT will hold its Kick-Off Meeting on 29th and 30th September 2013 which will be hosted by the University of Aveiro, Portugal and attended by representatives from all partners, members of the International Advisory Board and the EC.

Further information

Contacts: Dr. Laurence Hardwick - Coordinator (   

Dr. Glenda Wall – Project Manager (

Dr. Gilberto Teobaldi – Work Package Leader for Computational Studies (