The £130m UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC), a pioneering battery production development facility in Coventry, will soon be operational, according to UKBIC management.
A first of its kind, the 18,500-square-metre battery production development facility is publicly funded and can be utilised by any organisation with existing or new battery technology, providing that technology will bring green jobs and prosperity to the UK.
UKBIC allows UK manufacturers, entrepreneurs, researchers and educators to prove whether promising concepts (from electrode and cell materials through to battery modules and packs) can be manufactured at the required volume, speed, performance and cost to be commercially successful.
The facility — which only secured planning permission two years ago — has already started to welcome the first of its customers through its doors. The internal setup is designed to allow several users to run projects simultaneously in discrete areas, as well as provide opportunities for hands-on training in battery production.
UKBIC contains £60m of specialist battery manufacturing equipment and currently employs 86 people, including battery technicians, engineers and consultants. There are plans for that number to reach 100 to support future project partnerships with industry and research organisations.
Jeff Pratt, UKBIC’s Managing Director, said: “Since moving into our new facility earlier this year, we have already begun to welcome manufacturers, entrepreneurs, researchers and educators, albeit in a controlled and socially distanced manner.
“Our battery production development facility can be used by companies working on electric vehicles, rail, aerospace, industrial and domestic equipment and static energy storage, who can benefit by finding out whether their innovations can be scaled up successfully before committing to the huge investment needed for mass production.
“We and our partners have continued to work on the facility throughout the Covid-19 period. Although we have seen some delays, we have continued to make excellent progress, and are now seeing our first facilities beginning to come on stream.”
Professor David Greenwood, CEO WMG centre HVM Catapult and Director for Industrial Engagement, adds: “UKBIC fills a critical gap in the UK battery development landscape — it provides open access to manufacturing development facilities which would only normally only be found within the confidential operations of a large scale cell manufacturer. This means that universities and companies, large and small, have a way of proving their technology is mass-manufacturable before making the huge investments needed to scale-up for market.
“Having conceived and incubated UKBIC at WMG (University of Warwick) just a few years ago, we are delighted to see it becoming ready for operation and we look forward to working together to make today’s research into tomorrow’s products”.
UKBIC is a key part of the Faraday Battery Challenge, a £246m government-funded programme to support the development of new battery technologies.
*Header image courtesy of UKBIC