Cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment of a lithium-sulfur battery with Li2S cathode

Lucia Barrera Cano

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are essential to decarbonise the transport sector which is responsible for 21% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Conscious of the environmental and ethical issues of lithium-ion batteries currently used in EVs, 3-5 times more energy dense lithium-sulfur batteries have been explored.  Among them, lithium sulfide cathode-based ones are attractive as they can help reduce the use of valuable lithium. This thesis aims to inform the quest for more sustainable EV batteries, by measuring the environmental impacts of an Li2S-Si battery pack throughout its life span using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). A novel recycling process is assessed. 


  • Dr. Jacqueline Edge, Mechanical Engineering
  • Dr. Laura Lander, Mechanical Engineering


Sodium-Zinc Solid Electrolyte batteries - the enabler of low-cost energy storage?

Chanwith Buntoengpesuchsakul

The widespread use of Li-ion batteries is inhibited for utility-scale energy storage because of the high cost, availability of raw materials and recycling issues. Therefore, many battery developers try to develop alternative cheap and sustainable solutions, including sodium-zinc solid electrolyte batteries.

However, this technology is still in the lab phase, so how do we address the potential of this low-cost technology or alter the system architecture early to achieve the low-cost objective of this novel battery system? The techno-economic bottom-up cost engineering technique considering all associated costs to reach the cell energy requirement can be the answer to all questions above.


  • Dr Iain Staffell, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Centre for Environmental Policy
  • Dr Oliver Schmidt, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Centre for Environmental Policy


Decarbonising heating of residential buildings: The design of a novel inter-seasonal solar thermal latent heat storage system.

Jada-Tiana Carnie

The heating demand of buildings in the UK resulted in the generation of 80MtCO2e emissions in 2016. To achieve net-zero by 2050, emissions derived from the heating of households must fall by 95%. This requires the replacement of natural gas boilers for low-carbon technologies such as solar thermal collectors. However, due to their intermittent energy generation, thermal energy storage will be a necessity to ensure the future security of energy supply. The objective of this thesis is to develop a thermal energy storage system using phase change materials, that will store solar irradiation as thermal energy to sustainably fulfil the water and space heating demands of a standard home in London.


  • Dr Antonis Sergis, Mechanical Engineering
  • Professor Yannis Hardalupas, Mechanical Engineering


Bottom-Up Cost Modelling of the All-Liquid Electrode Sodium Zinc Battery

Theodore Costaras

There is increasingly a need for flexibility to deal with the variable supply from solar and wind renewable generation. The SOLSTICE project aims to design a Sodium Zinc (Na-Zn) All Liquid Metal battery that is low cost and grid scale to help the transition to a net zero electricity grid. A bottom-up cost model of the investment costs for the Na-Zn All Liquid battery will be the first assessment of this technology. The model can identify cost drivers and a cost estimate for comparison with other energy storage technologies.


  • Dr Iain Staffell, Centre for Environmental Policy
  • Dr Oliver Schmidt, Centre for Environmental Policy


Degradation-Aware Operation of Lithium-Ion Batteries in the UK Power Market

Inessa Rajah

As more renewable energy sources are integrated into the UK’s power market, Lithium-Ion battery projects have become increasingly profitable and imperative to maintaining grid flexibility.  However, Lithium-Ion battery degradation is a complex process that reduces battery performance and limits battery lifetime.  Current operational strategies aiming to mitigate battery degradation are often simplistic and do not fully realise the technology’s economic and technical potential.  Consequently, this thesis explores the technical and economic implications of using a more holistic degradation-aware derating strategy in a Lithium-Ion battery system in the UK.


  • Dr Jorge Varela Barreras, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Mr Jake Sowe, Industry (Adaptogen Capital)


Cradle-to-grave Life Cycle Assessment of dominant battery technologies used in electric vehicles

Quentin Wolf

Currently, electric vehicles (EVs) are seen as a solution to reduce emissions in the passenger car sector significantly as they have no tailpipe emissions, however the materials contained in the traction battery have an undeniable impact on the environmental performance of EVs. The aim of this research project is to determine and analyse the most environmentally friendly of the major EV battery technologies in a cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA). While most LCAs focus on production and recycling of EV batteries, this study adds novelty by using real-life data on battery lifetime and degradation to produce a holistic environmental assessment that includes the battery use-phase.


  • Professor Anna Korre, Earth Science and Engineering
  • Evangelos Kallitsis, Earth Science and Engineering


Degradation model for solid-state lithium-ion battery considering the interface instability

Yingchen Xie

The lithium-ion battery (LIB) has become one of the most important power sources for electrical transportation. To further improve LIB's safety design and energy density, the solid-state battery (SSB) has been proposed as a promising technique. However, SSBs are still in their infancy. One fundamental problem observed has been the rapid degradation, for which the unstable interface between the lithium metal anode and the solid electrolyte is responsible.

This project focuses on the behaviours of the solid-state interface and their impacts on cell performances. By building up a electrochemical-mechanical couple model, this study will provide guidance for the design and management of SSBs.


  • Professor Gregory Offer, Mechanical engineering
  • Dr. Ruihe Li, Mechanical engineering