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Government Funding Of £42 Million For Energy Storage Research

 

The Faraday Institution has announced up to £42 million in new government funding to four UK-based consortia to conduct application-inspired research aimed at overcoming battery challenges to accelerate the electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

If successful, this research will put the UK on the map as being at the forefront of battery technology worldwide. It has the potential to radically increase the speed with which we can make the move to electric vehicles, as well as the speed with which we can decarbonize our energy supply, with obvious benefits to the environment.

The Faraday Institution is the UK's independent national battery research institute, and was established as part of the government's £246 million investment in battery technology through the Industrial Strategy. Its formation was announced in October 2017 by the Business Secretary Greg Clark.

The Faraday Institution's goal is to make the UK the go-to place and world leader for battery technology research and it has a clear mission to ensure the UK is well placed to take advantage of the future economic opportunities from this emerging technology.

Business Minister Richard Harrington said, "With 200,000 electric vehicles set to be on UK roads by the end of 2018 and worldwide sales growing by 45 per cent in 2016, investment in car batteries is a massive opportunity for Britain and one that is estimated to be worth £5 billion by 2025."

"Through our flagship Industrial Strategy and its Future of Mobility and Clean Growth Grand Challenges, we are committed to making Britain the 'go-to' destination for the development and deployment of this game-changing technology."

"Government investment, through the Faraday Institution, in the projects announced today will deliver valuable research that will help us seize the economic opportunities presented by battery technology and our transition to a low-carbon economy."

The topics for the four projects were chosen in consultation with industry, who will partner closely with each of them. This unique collaboration will help to ensure that the research is producing findings and solutions that meet the needs of business. In addition, industrial partners will contribute a total of £4.6 million in in-kind support to the following four projects:

· Extending battery life - Led by the University of Cambridge with nine other university and 10 industry partners, this project will examine how environmental and internal battery stresses (such as high temperatures, charging and discharging rates) damage electric vehicle (EV) batteries over time. Results will include the optimization of battery materials and cells to extend battery life (and hence EV range), reduce battery costs, and enhance battery safety. With Cambridge, university partners include University of Glasgow, University College London, Newcastle University, Imperial College London, University of Strathclyde, University of Manchester, University of Southampton, University of Liverpool and Warwick Manufacturing Group.

· Battery system modelling - Imperial College London (ICL) will lead a consortium of six other university and 17 industry partners to equip industry and academia with new software tools to understand and predict battery performance, by connecting understanding of battery materials at the atomic level all the way up to an assembled battery pack. The goal is to create accurate models for use by the automotive industry to extend lifetime and performance, especially at low temperatures. With ICL, university partners include University of Southampton, Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Oxford, Lancaster University, University of Bath, and University College London.

· Recycling and reuse - A project led by the University of Birmingham, including seven other academic institutions and 14 industrial partners, will determine the ways in which spent lithium batteries can be recycled. With the aim to recycle 100% of the battery, the project will look how to reuse the batteries and their materials, to make better use of global resources, and ultimately increase the impact of batteries in improving air quality and decarbonisation. With Birmingham, university partners include the University of Leicester, Newcastle University, Cardiff University, University of Liverpool, Oxford Brookes University, University of Edinburgh, and the Science and Facilities Technology Council.

· Next generation solid state batteries - The University of Oxford will lead an effort with six other university partners and nine industrial partners to break down the barriers that are preventing the progression to market of solid-state batteries, that should be lighter and safer, meaning cost savings and less reliance on cooling systems. The ambition of this project is to demonstrate the feasibility of a solid state battery with performance superior to Li-ion in EV applications. With Oxford, university partners will include the University of Liverpool, University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, University of Cambridge, University College London, and the University of St. Andrews.

Peter B. Littlewood, founding executive chair of the Faraday Institution, said: "To deliver the much needed improvement in air quality in our cities and achieve our aspiration for cleaner energy targets we need to shift to electric vehicles quickly. These research programmes will help the UK achieve this. To be impactful on increasing energy density, lowering cost, extending lifetime, and improving battery safety requires a substantial and focused effort in fundamental research." He went on to say that "Through steady investment in basic research on specific societal challenges identified by industry and government, the UK will become a world-leading powerhouse in energy storage."

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's Chief Executive, said: "There is an urgent imperative for us to increase the efficiency of energy storage as we move towards low-carbon economies and attempt to switch to clean methods of energy production."

"The Faraday Institution will bring leading academics in the field of battery development together with industry experts to explore novel application-inspired approaches that will address the challenges we face. The UK has an opportunity to accelerate the development of new products and techniques. EPSRC will be working with the Institution and the academic community to help it succeed and keep the UK a prosperous and productive nation."

Richard Catlow, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society and professor at University College London, said: "Using more electricity will be key in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Last year the European Academies Science Advisory Council found that advances in large-scale electricity storage is a priority to manage our increasing dependence on renewable energies. The Royal Society welcomes the Faraday Institution's much needed investment in energy storage research."


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