Faraday Battery Challenge collaboration brings positive results

Posted on 11 Nov 2022 by The Manufacturer

Many excellent research and innovation projects have been funded through UK Research and Innovation’s Faraday Battery Challenge, which invests in projects and facilities to drive the growth of a strong battery business in the UK. In this article, David Elson, Head of Manufacturing and Materials at Innovate UK, takes a closer look at a particular successful use case.

Specialist manufacturer H V Wooding has secured new business and is investing in new production capabilities as a result of a research collaboration with the Nuclear AMRC. Kent-based H V Wooding, which specialises in precision engineered metal components for the automotive and aerospace sectors, worked with materials and engineering researchers from the Nuclear AMRC and other parts of the University of Sheffield to improve the quality of its busbars.

Busbars are insulated metal strips which carry high-current power between different parts of an electrical system. The project, supported through the Faraday Battery Challenge, aimed to develop a new powder coating process to improve the quality and performance of busbars for the fast-growing electric vehicle market.

With the demand for busbars expected to increase significantly as road transport is electrified, an optimised and automated manufacturing process would give H V Wooding a significant competitive advantage in a rapidly expanding international market.

During the one-year project, the Nuclear AMRC team drew on additional expertise from the University of Sheffield. The AMRC, like the Nuclear AMRC, part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, advised on how the optimised process could be automated and scaled up, and the university’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering helped develop a standardised test procedure for quality assurance.

H V Wooding previously worked with the Nuclear AMRC through the Fit For Nuclear programme, which helps manufacturers meet the quality expectations of the nuclear supply chain. It is also working through the Fit For Offshore Renewables programme, a collaboration between the Nuclear AMRC and Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

Demand for busbars is expected to increase as road transport is electrified

Funding opportunities

PEMD Scale-up Competition

Projects are sought to share £5m in funding and improve Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) manufacturing supply chains in the UK. Run by Innovate UK, the ‘PEMD scale-up’ competition from the driving the electric revolution challenge at UK Research and Innovation, supports the growing need to invest in UK PEMD manufacturing.

Being run in two strands, the £5m funding competition will enable the scale up of PEMD manufacturing in the UK. These projects are designed to develop a resilient, crosssectoral, UK supply chain for these enabling technologies critical for net zero.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 7 December.

Innovation Loans Future Economy Competition – Round 6

Innovate UK is offering up to £25m in loans to micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Loans are for highly innovative late-stage research and development (R&D) projects with the best potential for the future. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships – 2022/23 – Round 4

UK registered academic institutions, RTOs or catapults can apply for a share of up to £9m to fund innovation projects with businesses or not for profits. The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme allows a UK registered business or not for profit organisation (which we will refer to collectively as the ‘business partner’ from now on) to partner with a ‘knowledge base partner’ (either a UK higher education (HE) or further education (FE) institution, research and technology organisation (RTO) or catapult).

The KTP partnership brings new skills and the latest academic thinking into the business partner to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project. The knowledge base partner recruits the ‘associate’ to work on the project. The associate has the opportunity to lead a strategic development within the business, developing new skills and gaining valuable experience.

Innovate UK Smart Grants

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25m for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy. This funding is from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

Busbars produced by H V Wooding using the new coating process

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