The University of Warwick has been awarded millions of pounds to boost British production of crucial materials for electric car batteries.
The £12 million in funding has been awarded by the Faraday Battery Challenge to the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and CPI at NETPark (North East Technology Park), in County Durham.
It will be used to create the new Advanced Materials Battery Industrialisation Centre (AMBIC).
The Centre will bridge the gap between academic research and battery production and will focus on how batteries can be made to work more efficiently, as well as on equipment and skills development.
The Centre is needed to help the UK develop the electric vehicle batteries of the future, with reduced costs, more sustainable materials and improved performance.
Electric vehicle batteries make up around half the cost of a new electric vehicle, so reducing the cost of their production is crucial to lowering the cost of EVs to parity with combustion engine vehicles.
The funds are part of a wider investment strategy by the Faraday Battery Challenge and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to ramp up Britain’s battery production and infrastructure to boost the UK’s domestic battery supply chain.
Professor David Greenwood, CEO of the WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre said: “Cathode and anode active materials make up more than 50% of the value of an automotive battery cell.
“For the UK to take its great academic research into production, and to capture the billions of pounds of resulting economic value in the UK, we need facilities which allow Britain to scale up and fully evaluate new materials. This investment, alongside the combined skillsets of CPI and WMG will provide that capability for the UK.”
The funds are specifically to help turbocharge the scale up of battery materials manufacturing within the UK. Only by producing batteries on a wider scale domestically can the EV industry make sure there is no bottleneck in supply and demand. By strengthening UK supply chains of battery materials, WMG is working with UKBIC and others to create a more resilient supply chain.
Thomas Bartlett, Challenge Deputy Director for the Faraday Battery Challenge, said: “AMBIC will bring together two emerging regions of battery innovation and manufacturing; the North-East and Midlands, under one facility to de-risk and accelerate battery materials scale up in the UK.
“Through the Faraday Battery Challenge’s £12m investment in the High Value Manufacturing Catapult we will establish a truly world-class facility to support the growth of a battery materials supply chain. With AMBIC and previous investments in cell, module and pack scale-up at UKBIC and R&D in the wider ecosystem, the UK will now be in a position to support businesses from “powder to pack” and from lab to commercial scales.”
Katherine Bennett, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said: “The next generation of battery technologies are critical to the green energy transition and a major opportunity for UK manufacturing. Realising that potential will require combining our collective expertise and this investment from the Faraday Battery Challenge is a brilliant example of that in action.
“In CPI and WMG, the Advanced Materials Battery Industrialisation Centre has two centres that are at the very forefront of chemical processing and battery cell development; together they can turbo charge battery materials scale-up.”
Frank Millar, Chief Executive Officer at CPI, said: The Advanced Materials Batteries Industrialisation Centre will enhance the UK’s existing competitive advantages in batteries technology, and it stands to become a catalyst for the UK to address some of the biggest challenges we face as a nation. By giving innovators the opportunity to harness our expertise we can tackle issues such as climate change, while growing a sector that will be vital to the future of the economy.
This article was first published on 27 November by University of Warwick.