The UK government has launched the “first phase” of £246 million ($320.8m) worth of investment in battery technology – with competitions “to boost both the research and development of expertise” in the sector.
Business secretary Greg Clark (pictured) said the four-year investment round – dubbed the Faraday Challenge – aims to support innovation and the “scale-up of battery technology" as part of the government’s wider industrial strategy in the run-up to Brexit.
Clark said the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will spearhead a £45m ($58.7m) competition “to bring the best minds and facilities together to create a Battery Institute”. The EPSRC aims to select a consortium of universities that will be responsible for undertaking research “looking to address the key industrial challenges in this area”, he said.
Meanwhile, Clark said the national Advanced Propulsion Centre will work with the automotive sector “to identify the best proposition for a new state-of-the-art open access National Battery Manufacturing Development facility”.
EPSRC chief executive Professor Philip Nelson said: “Batteries will form a cornerstone of a low carbon economy, whether in cars, aircraft, consumer electronics, district or grid storage. To deliver the UK’s low carbon economy we must consolidate and grow our capabilities in novel battery technology.”
“The Faraday Challenge is a new way of working,” Nelson said. “It will bring together the best minds in the field, draw on others from different disciplines, and link intimately with industry, innovators and other funders, such as Innovate UK, to ensure we maintain that our world leading position and keep the pipeline of fundamental science to innovation flowing.”
The government’s announcement follows a review, commissioned as part of an industrial strategy consultative paper, by Sir Mark Walport – in which he identified areas where the UK had strengths in battery technology and could benefit from funding.
Full story in next week’s BEST Battery Briefing.