About £30 million in government funds will be used to promote innovative studies into battery manufacturing, the hybrid car supply chain, and hydrogen vehicles.
Twenty-two studies will share £9.4 million in funding, including plans to develop a plant in Cornwall to extract lithium for use in electric vehicle batteries, a plant in Cheshire to manufacture specialized magnets for electric vehicle engines, and a plant in Loughborough to manufacture lightweight hydrogen storage for cars and vans.
The Faraday Institution, which is funded by the government, is now pledging £22.6 million to continue its work to improve the quality, efficiency, and longevity of batteries.
This funding falls ahead of the government’s promise to phase out the selling of new gas and diesel vehicles by 2030, as stated in the 10 Point Strategy for a Green Industrial Revolution. Research into new ways to power cars is a critical component of this shift, ensuring that the UK remains a global leader in automotive manufacturing while also improving employment and expertise in leading regions.
“We have set an ambitious target to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. To support that it is crucial we invest in research so we can power ahead with the shift to electric vehicles as we build back greener from the pandemic.
The world leading research announced today showcases the very best of British innovation and it will support all stages of the automotive supply chain to make the switch to electric vehicles – from developing batteries, to exploring how to recycle them.”Gerry Grimstone, Minister for Investment.
Investment in battery technologies would benefit both motorists and the environment by improving the efficiency and lowering the cost of electric cars. It is also helpful to enterprises and staff, as it encourages the growth of new jobs, companies, and the advancement of technology to fuel the UK’s automotive and energy transformations.
This latest round of studies funded through the Automotive Transformation Fund includes:
- Cornish Lithium – Trelavour Hard Rock Lithium Scoping Study [Cornwall]: Lithium hydroxide is an essential part of vehicle battery production. This study will assess the feasibility of developing a sustainable UK supply chain through the construction of an extraction plant that will produce low-carbon lithium hydroxide from a hard rock source in St Austell.
- Less Common Metals – New UK Magnet Plant [Cheshire]: This study has identified a promising approach to create a new UK magnet plant that will produce high-quality lightweight magnets for motors in electric vehicles
- Haydale Composites Solutions Ltd – Hydrogen storage for vehicles [Loughborough]: Storing hydrogen requires high-strength durable containers for safe operation in vehicles. This project will assess the suitability of Haydale’s promising lightweight, low permeability storage tank, which could help to unlock the pathway to hydrogen propulsion
The Faraday institution will use today’s funding to explore:
- battery safety, by investigating the root causes of cell failure in lithium-ion batteries and how this can lead to fires. It will also investigate the environmental consequences of such fires and help develop a consensus around the best method of fighting lithium-ion battery fires
- solid state batteries, which have the long-term potential to deliver improvements in safety and significantly increase the distance an electric vehicle can cover between charges
- recycling and reusing batteries to increase the sustainability of the future automotive supply chain
The Faraday Institution will also investigate the use of batteries on the power grid and in aerospace. The Institution’s expanded commercialisation plan, which was also unveiled today, will recognise and target consumer prospects, ensuring that the UK remains a competitive world leader in the most advanced battery technologies.
The research announced today through the Advanced Propulsion Centre and the Faraday Institution demonstrates the government’s commitment to nurturing innovation in the automotive industry. The government is committed to advance the UK’s future transport system through its extensive R&D Roadmap and to increase economy-wide R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.