Energy giant Phillips 66 has turned to a Sheffield tech specialist as it looks to develop more efficient materials for electric vehicles.
The company behind the huge Humber Refinery – where high grade graphite coke production is feeding into the lithium ion battery supply chain – has teamed up with Faradion, pioneers of the first sodium-ion powered vehicle.
Together the collaboration will look to develop lower-cost and higher-performing anode materials for sodium-ion batteries.
Ann Oglesby, vice president for energy research and innovation at Phillips 66, said: “Our world-class research team is working on various energy production and storage technologies that could help meet the world’s growing energy needs while advancing a lower-carbon future.
“We’re pleased to put some of our resources into play with Faradion as it works to bring game-changing technology to market using our high-performing anode materials.”
Faradion describes sodium-ion battery technology as having “an inherent advantage” over other power storage technologies because it uses low-cost materials that are sustainable and widely available.
Carbon is the preferred anode material for the batteries and the collaboration is expected to leverage Phillips 66’s experience there.
It has filed numerous patent applications on battery-related technology in recent years, while also working on hydrogen fuel-switching with another Sheffield business, ITM Power, and also re-refining used cooking oil to green up credentials.
James Quinn, chief executive of Faradion, said: “This agreement brings together Phillips 66’s strengths in hard-carbon anode material and Faradion’s sodium-ion technology for a high-performance, sustainable next-generation energy storage technology.
“Our aim is to further accelerate large-scale industrialisation of Faradion’s safe, low-cost sodium-ion energy technology. We are looking forward to Phillips 66 supporting Faradion’s growth in the rapidly expanding battery market and to jointly contribute to the transformation of the global energy market.”
Mr Quinn said Faradion’s technology provides similar performance to conventional chemistries while avoiding use of expensive materials such as cobalt and replacing lithium with the more sustainable and abundant sodium while giving better safety and thermal stability.
In 2015 the company demonstrated the world’s first sodium-ion battery powered vehicle when it launched an e-bike battery demonstrator in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering and Oxford University.
The company’s comprehensive intellectual property portfolio comprises multiple patent families focusing on cell materials, cell infrastructure, pack design, safety and transportation.
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