Record increase in funding for UK battery research and development

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  • £211m government funding confirmed for battery research under the Faraday Battery Challenge
  • the battery industry could support 100,000 jobs by 2040 and is central to the growth of key industries – such as electric vehicles and renewables
  • The Business Secretary visits the UK’s government-backed Battery Industrialization Center in Coventry to see how battery research is brought to market.

Key manufacturing industries across the UK will be boosted by new government funding of £211million for battery research and innovation, Business Secretary Jacob Rees confirmed today (Friday 21 October). Mogg.

The record increase in funding will be delivered through the Faraday Battery Challenge, which began in 2017 and supports the development of world-class science technology and large-scale manufacturing capacity for batteries in the UK. It will help capture opportunities for private investment and economic growth in sectors where powerful, fast-charging batteries will be essential, such as home energy storage and electric vehicles.

The funding, from last year’s settlement, will be disbursed between 2022 and 2025 by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) with support from the Faraday Institution, Innovate UK and the UK Battery Industrialization Center (UKBIC).

It will help the sector create 100,000 jobs in battery gigafactories and the battery supply chain by 2040. Supporting the scale of these technologies and unlocking new private investment supports the sustainable growth of the economy, which will boost tax revenue and put public services on a more secure footing in the longer term, helping to improve the lives of people across the UK.

Speaking during a visit to the £130million UKBICwhich is the UK’s center of excellence in battery manufacturing, said Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg:

Safe and powerful batteries are at the heart of our plans to develop the industries of the future. From our global renewable energy industry to our growing electric vehicle sector, security of battery supply is essential to creating jobs and ensuring prosperity.

The Faraday Battery Challenge has brought together the UK’s greatest minds and facilities to develop the innovations that will help us achieve this goal. The work he has done since 2017 has laid the foundation for our future economic success and I am pleased to confirm that this work will continue, supported by record funding.

The Faraday Battery Challenge combines:

  • research and development of capabilities to reduce battery weight and cost, increase energy and power, and ensure reliability and recyclability;
  • business-led collaborative innovation in the UK battery sector, developing a wider network and skills to manufacture batteries through Innovate UK; and
  • scaling up manufacturing and developing skills UKBIC the national battery manufacturing development facility.

The challenge has supported over 140 organizations working across the UK, attracting over £400 million in additional private sector investment. It has enabled the Faraday Institution, the UK’s independent battery research body, to bring together 500 researchers from over 25 universities to improve current technologies and develop future battery technologies.

Faraday Battery Challenge Director Tony Harper said:

This new funding allows us to strengthen the foundations we have created by consolidating and building on the UK’s position to become a battery science superpower. We now have the opportunity to ensure that our national industrialization infrastructure remains at the global forefront of this rapidly evolving critical net-zero technology.

With the support of the Challenge, the 130 million pounds UKBIC in Coventry opened its doors three years before its nearest European competition. The Center bridges the gap between battery research and successful mass production. So far UKBIC has supported over 140 battery developers in the UK, working on over 80 research and innovation projects, to successfully bring their products to market.

Felicity Buchan, Secretary of the Exchequer to the Treasury, said:

The battery industry will play a central role in the growth of our future economy. That’s why it’s so important that we make this record investment in cutting-edge research, help businesses become more innovative and productive, and create high-skilled, well-paying jobs across the UK.

UKBIC General Manager Jeff Pratt said:

I am delighted with this announcement which demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to supporting the development of advanced battery technologies across the UK. Since the launch of the Faraday Battery Challenge in 2017, we have seen a rapid evolution of the battery industry as it develops increased capacity across Europe; and this will continue over the next decade.

For UKBICthis additional funding will ensure that we retain our state-of-the-art manufacturing capacity for the UK and can continue to support our industry over the coming years as new chemistries and formats move into volume production.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said:

Advanced battery technology will play a central role in our lives and in the economy, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, creating new jobs and opening up new opportunities.

The Faraday Battery Challenge is at the forefront of the clean technology revolution, catalyzing collaboration and innovation that will benefit society.

This exciting work and new investment announced today underscores how research and innovation can help create a sustainable future while driving economic growth.

Along with the challenge, the UK government is helping to deliver a global electric vehicle industry in the UK through the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF). Through the ATF the UK has secured major investments in battery production, including Envision AESC expanding its existing factory in Sunderland.

An additional £4m is also being announced via UKRI‘s Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge to support skills, talent and training in power electronics, machinery and drives (PEMD) manufacturing and supply chains. PEMD components are the parts that make things “work”, from cars to hair dryers, that underpin a wide range of high value-added industries.

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and UKBIC Chief Executive Jeff Pratt inspect the batteries being built

Notes to Editors

Faraday’s Battery Challenge

The Faraday Battery Challenge has been backed by £541m since 2017. It is carried out by Innovate UK on behalf of UK Research and Innovation. It establishes the UK as a scientific superpower for batteries by supporting the UK’s world-class battery installations and developing innovative companies that develop the battery supply chain for our future prosperity. Its aim is to create a high tech, high value and highly skilled battery industry in the UK.

Projects previously supported by the Challenge include:

Cornish Lithium

Support for Cornish Lithium Ltd, in the first of four pilot plants which will extract lithium from geothermal waters near Redruth. The company also intends to recover lithium-laden mica deposits from former China clay quarries in the county. Cornwall could produce a third of the UK’s lithium needs for electric vehicles (VE) batteries within five years.

Nexeon

Support for Nexon Ltd’s SUNRISE project, which aims to triple the energy density of lithium-ion batteries, using silicon-based anodes instead of conventional graphite ones. Nexeon already supplies a number of global battery manufacturers and Tier 1 OEMs. Its latest round of capital funding saw the company secure $200 million to mass-produce tens of thousands of tons metrics per year of its silicon-based anode materials for use in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

About Faraday

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, skills development, market analysis and early stage commercialization. Bringing together expertise from academia and industry, the Faraday Institution strives to make the UK the place to be for research and development of new electrical storage technologies for the automotive and wider relevant sectors. .

The Faraday Institution is funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Faraday Battery Challenge. Based on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, the Faraday Institution is a registered charity with an independent board of trustees.

About the UK Battery Industrialization Center (UKBIC)

The British Battery Industrialization Center (UKBIC) was opened in July 2021. The National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility provides the missing link between battery technology, which has shown promise at laboratory or prototype scale, and mass production successful.

Based in Coventry, UKBIC welcomes manufacturers, entrepreneurs, researchers and educators, and is accessible to any organization with existing or new battery technology – whether that technology brings green jobs and prosperity to the UK.

In addition to funding the Faraday Battery Challenge through UK Research and Innovation, UKBIC is partly funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority. The installation was delivered through a consortium made up of Coventry City Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Business Partnership and WMG, to the University of Warwick, following a competition held in 2018 by the Advanced Propulsion Center with support from Innovate UK.

Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge

Power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) technologies are what make things “go”. They are found in a wide range of places, from cars and solar panels to cell phones and hair dryers. High-tech, high-value industries rely on them and a skilled workforce in their design and creation.

The Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge supports projects that raise awareness PEMD and fill gaps in the training and talent capabilities of the UK workforce.

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