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Energy storage

High energy-density solid-state lithium-ion batteries are increasingly used in many applications, ranging from low-power mobile telephones, electronic notebooks, through storage of solar and renewable energy, to high-power vehicle traction. Insecurity in the supply of fossil fuels and the necessity for substantially minimizing environmental pollution have recently accelerated usage of such batteries in electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). Although Li-ion batteries are promising, their current cost coupled with the limited distances that they can power before recharging, result in a major limitation for EV development and production. In addition, their capacity to store renewable energy that can be released when needed, is still wanting. Further fundamental studies intended to optimise their performance are necessary.

The main purpose of the project is to use computational modelling methods in the enhancement of cost effectiveness, energy and power density, charge/discharge time, number of charge/discharge cycles of high power rechargeable batteries. The best approach to any battery design and optimisation programme, which is lacking in most instances, is to align it directly to applications it is intended for. In the current study, battery performance evaluation results derived from the EV and renewable energy (Eskom) development projects, will shed valuable insights on changes that are needed in battery chemistry and configuration in order to provide targeted outputs.

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