UK government releases Battery Strategy

Posted on 29 Nov 2023 by James Devonshire

The UK government has published its first ever Battery Strategy, outlining how it intends to facilitate the growth of a domestic battery industry, including a globally competitive battery supply chain by 2030.

The 69-page UK Battery Strategy was released on Sunday, coinciding with the government’s Advanced Manufacturing Plan, a blueprint setting out the actions being taken to position the country as the go-to place to start and grow a manufacturing business.

The government says the Battery Strategy is designed to help “grow a thriving battery innovation ecosystem and become a world leader in sustainable design, manufacture, and use”.

As part of the strategy, the government is making available over £2bn in new capital and R&D funding for the automotive sector, supporting the manufacturing and development of zero emission vehicles, their batteries and supply chain from 2025 to 2030. A further £61m will be invested in battery R&D through three channels:

  • £38m for the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre
  • £12m for the Advanced Materials Battery Industrialisation Centre
  • and £11m for 20 competition winners developing technologies across the battery value chain.

The government says a successful battery industry could be a significant driver of economic growth, supporting up to 100,000 jobs by 2040: 35,000 in cell manufacturing and 65,000 in the battery supply chain.

In the foreword for the strategy, Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister of State for Industry and Economic Security at the Department for Business and Trade and Minister of State for the Investment Security Unit at the Cabinet Office, said: “The UK will be a world leader in sustainable battery design and manufacture, underpinned by a thriving battery innovation ecosystem.”

Download the full UK Battery Strategy here

Industry responds to UK Battery Strategy

Dame Professor Clare Grey, Co-Chair of the UK Battery Strategy Team and professor at Cambridge University, said: “I – as both an academic working to optimise battery function and understand failure modes and a cofounder of the fast-charging battery company Nyobolt – welcome the publication of the UK battery strategy.

“Clarity in the commitments, along with announcements of significant funding out to 2030, will be welcomed by the many industry sectors in the UK working towards achieving next zero, where certainly is key to making key business decisions and investments.

“The continued funding is also critical for building on the momentum already achieved in the laboratory, to move some of the early-stage research out into commercial, manufactured products.

“The breadth of the strategy – from skills, manufacturing, critical mineral supply chains, financing, recycling and the circular economy, to regulation and speeding up grid connections – along with the commitments towards implementation – will be critical in building battery- and related industries in the UK.”

Professor David Greenwood, CEO WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Director of Industrial Engagement, WMG, University of Warwick: “November has been a busy month for EV and battery policy. Though it started with the withdrawal of the 2030 ban on sale of petrol and diesel vehicles, that was effectively negated by the release of the Zero Emission Mandate the following Thursday, which states that 80% of new vehicles sold must be EV by 2030, and 100% by 2035.

“Then last week we had the Advanced Manufacturing Plan, including £2bn of support for the Automotive sector, £975m for the aerospace sector and £150m for connected and autonomous mobility – most importantly, confirming support for these out until 2030 – allowing government to invest over the same timescales as industry

“This week we had the Department for Business and Trade report on Batteries for Electric Vehicle Manufacture, which gave the context for today’s release of the UK Battery Strategy. Key points include sustained and consistent support for research and innovation, plus a focus on establishing upstream and downstream supply chains. The strategy also considers supply of critical minerals, mitigation of regulatory barriers (such as the process for obtaining grid connections for factories and EV charging locations). In addition it commits to continue to convene the Battery Strategy Taskforce to oversee the implementation of the strategy.

“Soon we can also expect the report of the House of Lords Environment and Climate Committee report on Electric Vehicles, which I hope and expect will contribute further around consumer aspects of EV adoption and ownership.

“All in all, this gives us a pretty solid environment in which to continue to develop a UK battery industry, and to see the results of our world-leading research find their way into high value products, creating high value jobs in the UK.”

Tom Flack, CEO of Agratas, said: “Through our multi-billion-pound investment, Agratas is building the UK’s largest battery cell manufacturing facility and pioneering next-generation battery technologies, powering the transition to net zero and creating thousands of green economy jobs. The Advanced Manufacturing Plan and the UK’s Battery Strategy outline the vision, collaboration and support required to deliver on that ambition. We look forward to working closely with the Government to grow a globally competitive UK battery sector.”

Brian Holliday, Managing Director, Digital Industries at Siemens: “The new investment clearly says that UK manufacturing matters. It represents a tremendous boost for our makers that will enable the confidence to invest in innovation, productivity and sustainability.

“Key sectors benefit but so does the long tail of small and medium firms which is really important to directly address our recent challenges of weak overall productivity and investment.

“The business benefits of digitalisation are now clear, while being an enabler for industrial decarbonisation too – the package of measures announced in bolstering Made Smarter, targeted regulatory reform and sector support, along with our world-class Catapults and Universities now makes the UK one of the best countries on the planet to sustainably design, make and export goods.”

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