Sussex scientists develop quantum sensors for electric vehicle batteries

A consortium led by CDO2 and involving researchers from the nascent Sussex Programme for Quantum Research has received a grant from Innovate UK for a feasibility study totalling more than £450,000, as part of the government’s Faraday Battery Challenge.

CDO2 – a company based at the Sussex Innovation Centre – is contributing more than £36,000 to the project. The funds will be used to conduct a feasibility study, assessing techniques for measuring current flow through electric vehicle (EV) batteries, with the aim of extending battery life and enhancing performance.

A key area of study will centre on emerging quantum sensor technology. The accuracy of quantum sensors makes them ideally suited to monitoring EV batteries, minimising the risk of them overheating and causing fires.

The other partners in the consortium are Queen Mary University of London and INEX Microtechnology Ltd, a Newcastle-based microfabrication company. The consortium will develop a new battery management system demonstrator, incorporating custom built quantum sensors and novel data processing software.

“I joined the Sussex Innovation Centre because I was fascinated by the work going on at the Sussex Programme for Quantum Research,” said Gary Kendall, founder of CDO2. “It’s great that we’ve now secured the necessary funding to turn this into a commercial application. The whole project came together through complete serendipity – from a casual conversation with Queen Mary at an Innovate UK conference, to spotting a potential application for the work happening back in the lab."

“Quantum sensors have a role to play in maximising the potential of all manner of technologies,” said Prof Peter Krüger, Research Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Sussex. “Our team is delighted to be collaborating with companies to further our research and drive real practical impact from it. Ultimately, if our work ends up encouraging more of the public to make the switch to electric vehicles, that’s a really positive outcome.”