University College Cork (UCC) is a world-class research-led University that plays a key regional and national role in the development of Ireland’s knowledge-based economy. UCC is one of the premier research institutions in Ireland and, internationally, is ranked in the top 2% of universities worldwide — in the QS World University Rankings 2011; UCC was placed 181st in the world, up 3 places relative to 2010. Central to the strategy are centres of excellence in nationally prioritised thematic areas including Nanotechnology, and Photonics (Tyndall National Institute), Food and Health, Pharmaceuticals, and the Environment. Up to May 2011, UCC researchers secured €31.8 million from the EC’s FP7 programmes and the University is the most successful institution in the State in terms of success rates and the number of participations in funded FP7 projects.UCC is wholly committed to the Innovation Agenda. Outputs during 2010 included over 20 new patent filings, over 15 licenses with commercial and industry partners, and 3 new start-ups were launched out of the University. This high level of commercial output is indicative of a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that is developing within the University and builds on the success of previous years in this space. UCC is collaborating with many European research centres established through a host of research contracts during the framework Frameworks 5, 6 and 7 programmes in materials, energy and health. Specifically, the UCC partner is engaged in current FP7 projects on green Li-ion battery, and currently maintains a large national and international collaborative initiative in which the UCC partner focuses on energy storage and conversion strategies with a focus on advanced Li-ion, Li-air redox flow batteries. There is no overlapping between these national and international projects with the STABLE project.

Main tasks attributed: molecular dynamics simulation of cells performance and stability (Task 4.1), evaluation of safety and efficiency of lithium air battery pack (Task 4.3) in WP4; analysis of the performance impact of different assembly techniques with different electrolytes (Task 5.2), characterization and evaluation of the performance the cell assembled (Task 5.3) in WP5.

These tasks comprise assembling newly synthesized mass balanced cathode and anode materials from partners into a complete battery cell and characterization and evaluation of the cells to tolerance and performance objectives identified as optimum from WP1-WP3. The team has expertise in cell assembly and advanced in-situ electrochemical and physical characterization, and currently focuses on several key lithium battery electrode designs and in-situ physical and electrochemical characterization such as environmental AFM, in-situ stress determination during charge-discharge and detailed microstructural correlation to performance. In addition to optimization of material and electrolyte systems for full cell assembly and characterization, the team will deliver a fully prototypical, high performance coin cell analogy for the Li-air cells. Additionally, the team will manage and develop a molecular dynamics and density functional theory approach to modeling Li-air cells with a focus on catalyst influence, voltage stability, Li degradation and phase influence on performance and prediction of optimum performance-stability relationships for next-to-market possibilities resulting from WP 1-5.

Key people involved:

Dr Colm O’Dwyer, Lecturer, Department of Chemistry and Principal Investigator at Tyndall National Institute, leads the Advanced Energy Materials group with principal research interests encompassing the synthesis, functionalization and device-oriented application of hybrid functional nanomaterials, for advanced lithium, lithium-ion and hybrid pseudo-capacitor and transparent Li-ion batteries. The group is involved in both national and EU projects in green Li-ion batteries, redox flow batteries, and mouldable 3D electrode designs for thin film photonic crystal transparent battery coatings. He received his B.Sc. and Ph.D degrees in Physics from the University of Limerick. This was followed by a Marie-Curie IST Programme FASTNet postdoctoral fellowship at the University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France and then at the Tyndall National Institute, Ireland under EU FP6 project FUNLIGHT. Dr O’Dwyer is lead organizer and editor of the State of the Art Program on Compound Semiconductors, Wide Band-Gap Semiconductor Materials and Devices, and the Processes at the Semiconductor-Solution Interface annual series of symposia with The Electrochemical Society (ECS). He also serves on the executive committee of the Electronics & Photonics Division of the ECS and was a contributor to the Emerging Nanophotonics Roadmap 2008 from FP6 Network of Excellence PhOREMOST comprising 34 academic and industrial partners across Europe. UCC will bring broadband research expertise in advanced energy materials, in-situ physical, mechanical and electrical/electrochemical characterization, and optimized assembly of fully prototypical Li-ion and Li-air cells.