Industry partnership provides a boost in UBCO battery research

Research Excellence | Strategy 9: Knowledge Exchange
Theme: Innovation
Dr. Jian Liu explains the type of research taking place in UBCO’s new battery prototyping facility, partially funded by an agreement with Fenix Advanced Materials | Photo credit: Michael & Suzanne Hintringer Photography.

Despite the growing popularity of electric vehicles, researchers are still working to develop a smaller, longer-lasting battery to power the vehicles. Current battery research at UBC Okanagan has led to additional funding from industry partner Fenix Advanced Materials to lead the charge when it comes to battery development.

Dr. Jian Liu, the UBC Okanagan Principal’s Research Chair in Energy Storage Technologies and an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering, is developing a solid-state lithium battery that will increase performance and stability specifically for powering EVs.

The new batteries, which could extend an EV’s driving range and safety, are made of raw and recycled materials procured by Fenix in Trail, BC. This expanded partnership with Fenix is an important step toward building a battery supply chain locally while strengthening the Canadian company’s international position in the growing battery market.

“This research aims to develop a battery that doubles the energy density of today’s lithium-ion batteries while at the same making considerable improvements to its safety,” says Dr. Liu. “We replace flammable liquid electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries with air-stable solid electrolytes in the new battery chemistry, therefore avoiding the safety risks of current EV batteries.”

“Our province has a wealth of these materials, and we need to solidify our research and development to ensure we put these materials to good use,” he adds, explaining the batteries use tellurium, a copper by-product, iron and other base-metal-rich ore bodies.

Please visit the UBC Okanagan News website to read the full story.

Through Strategy 9: Knowledge Exchange, UBC is enhancing existing pathways, including those that facilitate entrepreneurship and commercialization.