UK govt initiates £65m battery technology research institute

The UK government has announced the consortium of UK universities forming the ‘Faraday Battery Institute’, which is responsible for building the UK’s status as a global leader in battery research and technology.

Researchers from the UCI have developed a nanowire based rechargeable battery that can last 400 times longer than normal batteries - image courtesy of Steve Zylius and UCI.
The £65m battery technology Institute will bring together the expertise from its 7 founding partner universities- image courtesy of Steve Zylius and UCI.

The new £65m battery technology institute will bring together the expertise and insight from its 7 founding partner universities, industry partners and other academic institutions to accelerate fundamental research to develop battery technologies.

Announcing this major investment in the UK’s research base, MP Greg Clark said:“The Faraday Battery Institute will have a critical role in fostering innovative research collaboration between our world-leading universities and world-beating businesses to make this technology more accessible and more affordable.”

With £65 million of funding through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Institute will invest an initial £13.7m to set up a headquarters.

EPSRC chief executive Professor Philip Nelson said: “Climate change and moving towards low carbon economies mean the demand for clean energy production and effective energy storage, in the UK and globally, is rising.”

The business secretary confirmed in July that the government would be making an investment of £246m, over 4 years, in the Faraday Research Challenge to ensure the UK builds on its strengths and leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.

The Faraday Research Challenge is divided into 3 streams – research, innovation and scale-up which is designed to drive a step-change in transforming the UK’s world-leading research into market-ready technologies that ensures economic success for the UK.

The Faraday Research Challenge is just 1 of 6 areas that the government, together with business and academia, identified through its flagship Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) as being one of the UK’s core industrial challenges and opportunities, where research and innovation can help unlock markets and industries of the future in which the UK can become world-leading.

As part of cementing the UK as a global leader in autonomous and battery vehicles, the government will unveil shortly the winners of its first £55m Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) testing infrastructure competition.

This follows the government opening its £100m CAV test bed competition in April, inviting proposals for how to create a cluster of excellence in driverless car testing, along the M40 corridor between Coventry and London, to accelerate the development of this technology, grow intellectual capital and attract overseas investment in the UK.

 The universities forming the institute are:

  • Imperial College London
  • Newcastle College London
  • University College London
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Warwick