What was the impact?
A much wider range of materials could now be produced, and a spin-out company – Ilika Technologies plc – was rapidly created in 2004 to aid development; by 2010 it had achieved a market capitalisation value of £18.7 million. At the time of publication in 2015, the market value had increased to almost £50 million.
Ilika has increased the energy capacity of solidstate lithium-ion batteries, a market set to be worth $32 billion annually by 2018. Toyota has contributed £4 million to this research, with the technology used in the development of batteries for next generation Toyota electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
A range of materials has also been developed for other applications. Platinum-free fuel cell catalysts have been developed with the Carbon Trust to significantly reduce the cost of fuel cells. Recyclable hydrogen storage materials have been developed and commercialised in collaboration with Shell and Sigma Aldrich. Environmentallyfriendly, lead-free materials are being developed with CeramTec for use in vehicle fuel injection systems and when triggering airbags.