The government has launched a £246M scheme which it hopes will transform the UK into a battery technology world leader.
It is hoped the launch of the Industrial Strategy’s new four year, Faraday Challenge – a series of programmes to boost expertise in battery technology.
The first phase is to include a competition to develop a £45M “Battery Institute” a centre to make the technology more affordable and accessible.
An advisory board will be set up to ensure there is coherence across a ”programme of programmes” to develop the technology. Chairing the board will be professor Richard Parry-Jones, who has experience in the automotive industry and recently chaired the UK Automotive Council for six years.
Business and energy secretary Greg Clark said: “The Faraday Challenge, will put £246M into research, innovation and scale-up of battery technology.
“The first element will be a competition led by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council to bring the best minds and facilities together to create a Battery Institute.”
Clark said the most promising research would then be moved closer to the market through industrial collaborations led by Innovate UK.
“The Faraday Challenge’s competitions are divided into three streams - research, innovation and scale-up - designed to drive a step-change in translating the UK’s world-leading research into market-ready technology that ensures economic success for the UK,” he said.
The announcement follows a review, commissioned as part of the Industrial Strategy Green Paper, by Sir Mark Walport. This identifies areas in which the UK had strengths in battery technology and which could benefit from further links through the Faraday Challenge fund.
Innovate UK chief executive Ruth McKernan said: “By any scale, the Faraday Challenge is a game changing investment in the UK and will make people around the globe take notice of what the UK is doing in terms of battery development for the automotive sector.
“The competitions opening this week present huge opportunities for UK businesses, helping to generate further jobs and growth in the UK’s low carbon economy.”
In conjunction with this, the government has also announced a “Connected Autonomous Vehicles” research and development competition, with £25M of funding being made available to new projects.