The UK government is investing extra cash in the project to build a battery centre in the city of Coventry as a “stepping stone” towards launching a national gigafactory.
Business and industry minister Andrew Stephenson (pictured) announced £28 million (US$35.8m) for the new UK Battery Industrialisation Centre— set to open in 2020— which will provide “world-leading testing facilities for new battery technologies”.
UK proposals to increase tax on low-carbon technologies such as battery storage— announced as Britain had its first week without using electricity from burning coal since the 1880s— have come under fire from the renewables industry.
Aurelius Environmental, which is pioneering a lead-acid battery recycling process in the UK, is to invest £1.5 million (US$1.9m) in advanced ‘green’ technology after securing a debt funding package.
Miles Freeman, CEO of Aurelius and former operations director of Ecobat Technologies, said the business would invest in machinery that “produces virtually zero waste— allowing us to provide a more sustainable and environmentally friendly process to the market”.
The announcement comes less than two years after Aurelius and research partner Cambridge University were awarded an EU grant of €1.3m ($1.5m) to develop ‘Fenixpb’— a hydrometallurgical process that produces lead oxide directly from spent batteries.
UK companies are behind plans to install a hybrid storage system of lithium-ion and vanadium redox flow batteries at the heart of a new ‘energy superhub’ in the English city of Oxford.
The superhub consortium— which includes UK energy storage company redT and Pivot Power— said the project would study how the growth in local renewables, electric vehicles, battery storage, and demand side response can be supported and help in reducing charges to consumers.
Pivot Power will create a connection to the transmission network for the system that will combine the lithium-ion battery with “2 MW / 5 MWh of the heavy cycling, non-degrading characteristics of vanadium redox flow machines”.
Imperial College London (ICL) and Tsinghua University are launching a virtual centre to collaborate on pioneering research into advanced energy systems.
The universities have agreed to jointly study “next-generation technologies and intelligent control strategies” towards low-carbon power and energy systems.
The centre will be the latest collaboration between the two universities, which have previously worked together on research projects including ‘the role of energy storage in enhancing operation and stability performance of sustainable power systems’.
A new joint venture company involving UK liquid air energy storage (LAES) system pioneer Highview Power is to develop “multiple projects” in Spain, the Middle East and South Africa.
Highview has entered into a joint venture agreement with Spain-based global engineering, procurement and construction group, TSK, to co-develop a series of “large-scale long-duration energy systems”.
The projects will use Highview’s cryogenic LAES technology, which the company said “can deliver anywhere from 20MW/80MWh to more than 200MW/1.2GWh of energy” at facilities with a lifespan of 30 to 40 years.
Fossil-fuel giant Shell has further extended its reach into the energy storage sector with the acquisition of virtual battery systems operating firm, Limejump.
The purchase by Shell’s New Energies division comes hot on the heels of the multinational’s acquisition of all of the shares in German battery storage firm Sonnen, as reported in last week’s BEST Battery Briefing.
Limejump is a UK-based energy storage management company that describes itself as “the first energy company to trade an aggregated unit and the first to trade batteries in the UK balancing mechanism market”.
UK-based chemicals company Johnson Matthey (JM) has signed a long-term agreement to supply battery cathode material to Dutch lithium-ion producer, Lithium Werks (LW).
Under the agreement— which will run for five years, commencing 1 April 2019— JM will supply lithium iron phosphate (LFP) material manufactured at its Changzhou, China facility.
In September 2018, JM sold its automotive battery business to US-based Cummins, allowing the company to focus on “developing commercial battery materials for the full range of transport applications”.