What could be more familiar than the humble electric battery? They’ve been around for years, factories knock them out regular as clockwork and we’re pretty familiar with them. They are in our phones, our remote controls, our game controllers and our cars.
So it may sound slightly crazy to say that the battery represents the start of a new industrial revolution.
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As well as our ubiquitous personal electronics, the accelerating and irreversible move to electric transportation and energy storage is sending our demand for batteries soaring. And this is bringing as many challenges as opportunities, particularly in areas of waste, weight and re-usability.
The bottom line is we need lots of better, longer-lasting and greener batteries – and we need them very soon.
In a constantly surprisingly – and genuinely inspirational – hour-long podcast, we talked to Carolyn Hicks and Christoph Birkl of Oxford University spin-out Brill Power. Emerging from Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science, Brill is looking to bring about a revolution in battery control systems to extend the lifespan of multi-cell batteries.
This is important. Here in the UK we’ve made innovation in battery technology one of the key priorities of our industrial strategy. The UK government has even founded a new independent institute – The Faraday Institution on the Harwell Campus – to spearhead this work.
Throughout this fascinating and inspirational podcast, one thing comes across again and again: there is a revolution coming in transportation and grid energy storage, batteries are at the heart of everything – and the manufacture of these batteries represents the frontiers of a new global economic power struggle.
We guarantee you one thing: after listening to this episode, you’ll never look at the humble battery in the same way again.
We have produced a comprehensive set of show notes, including links, analysis and organisation contacts. Members of the Stories from Science community automatically get access to these for free by becoming a supporter through Patreon – or email us for more details.