On Tuesday January 23rd 2018, the Faraday Institution announced up to £42 million in new government funding to four UK consortia to conduct research aimed at overcoming battery challenges to accelerate the electric vehicle revolution, and WMG at the University of Warwick will be partners in two of those four new consortia.
The Faraday Institution, which WMG at the University of Warwick helped to form, is the UK’s independent national battery research institute, and it was established as part of the government’s £246 million investment in battery technology through the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Its formation was announced in October 2017 by the Business Secretary Greg Clark. The research it supports at organisations such as WMG at the University of Warwick aims to put the UK on the map as being at the forefront of battery technology worldwide and radically increase the speed with which we are able to make the move to electric vehicles.
WMG will be a key member of two of the four new consortia of researchers and industry partners. The first of these (led by the University of Cambridge) will focus on “Extending battery life” will examine how environmental and internal battery stresses (such as high temperatures, charging and discharging rates) damage electric vehicle (EV) batteries over time. Results will include the optimization of battery materials and cells to extend battery life (and hence EV range), reduce battery costs, and enhance battery safety. The second (led by Imperial College London) will focus on “Battery system modelling” and it aims to equip industry and academia with new software tools to understand and predict battery performance, by connecting understanding of battery materials at the atomic level all the way up to an assembled battery pack. The goal is to create accurate models for use by the automotive industry to extend lifetime and performance, especially at low temperatures.
“The Faraday Institution is a new way of delivering academic research to solve thorny industrial problems. These large, actively managed projects bring together the best of UK academia with a focus on a specific application – in this case the improvement of battery technology for automotive and grid storage applications. WMG holds a leading position in battery research and development, and we are delighted to contribute to these pioneering projects.”
Business Minister Richard Harrington said, “With 200,000 electric vehicles set to be on UK roads by the end of 2018 and worldwide sales growing by 45 per cent in 2016, investment in car batteries is a massive opportunity for Britain and one that is estimated to be worth £5 billion by 2025.
“Through our flagship Industrial Strategy and its Future of Mobility and Clean Growth Grand Challenges, we are committed to making Britain the ‘go-to’ destination for the development and deployment of this game-changing technology.
“Government investment, through the Faraday Institution, in the projects announced today will deliver valuable research that will help us seize the economic opportunities presented by battery technology and our transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Peter B. Littlewood, founding executive chair of the Faraday Institution, said: “To deliver the much needed improvement in air quality in our cities and achieve our aspiration for cleaner energy targets we need to shift to electric vehicles quickly. These research programmes will help the UK achieve this.”
Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said: “There is an urgent imperative for us to increase the efficiency of energy storage as we move towards low carbon economies and attempt to switch to clean methods of energy production.
“The Faraday Institution will bring leading academics in the field of battery development together with industry experts to explore novel application-inspired approaches that will address the challenges we face. The UK has an opportunity to accelerate the development of new products and techniques. EPSRC will be working with the Institution and the academic community to help it succeed and keep the UK a prosperous and productive nation.”