The UK Government has announced it will invest £211 million via the Faraday Battery Challenge to innovate and make the country a global leader in battery technology.
Confirmed today by Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, the funding will enable the UK’s battery manufacturing industries to pioneer critical advancement in battery technology and scale-up production capabilities. It will also pave the way for private investment and economic growth in industries where powerful and rapidly charging batteries are becoming increasingly vital, such as electric vehicles and domestic energy storage.
How will the funding be utilised?
The sizable funding will be delivered between 2022 and 2025 by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) with support from the Faraday Institution, Innovate UK, and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC).
It will unlock significant benefits for UK citizens, including opening up 100,000 jobs in battery gigafactories and the battery supply chain by 2040. The scale-up of battery technology in the UK will boost the growth of the economy and tax revenues.
Jacob Rees-Mogg commented: “Safe and powerful batteries are central to our plans to grow the industries of the future. From our world-leading renewables industry to our growing electric vehicle sector, secure supplies of batteries are key to delivering jobs and prosperity.
“The Faraday Battery Challenge has brought the UK’s greatest minds and best facilities together to develop the innovations that will help us achieve this goal. The work it has done since 2017 has laid the groundwork for our future economic success, and I am pleased to confirm this work will continue, supported by record funding.”
What is the Faraday Battery Challenge?
The Faraday Battery Challenge optimises battery technology research and capability development, focusing on reducing weight and cost, increasing energy and power, and enhancing reliability and recyclability.
It ensures collaborative business-led innovation in the UK battery sector, developing the skills needed to manufacture batteries through Innovate UK and supports the scale-up of battery development at UKBIC.
The challenge has helped over 140 UK organisations and yielded more than £400m in private-sector investment. The initiative has enabled the Faraday Institution to connect 500 researchers from 25 universities across the UK to take battery technology to new frontiers.
Tony Harper, the Director of the Faraday Battery Challenge, said: “This new funding allows us to strengthen the foundation we’ve created by consolidating and building on the UK’s position to become a battery science superpower. We now have an opportunity to ensure that our national industrialisation infrastructure remains world-leading in this fast-evolving critical net zero technology.
“With the support of the Challenge, the £130 million UKBIC in Coventry opened three years ahead of its nearest European competition. The Centre provides the link between battery research and successful mass production. So far, UKBIC has supported over 140 UK battery developers, working on more than 80 research and innovation projects, to successfully scale their products to market.”
Jeff Pratt, UKBIC Managing Director, said: “I am delighted with this announcement which demonstrates the government’s sustained commitment to supporting the development of advanced battery technologies across the UK. Since the Faraday Battery Challenge was launched in 2017, we have seen rapid change in the battery industry as it develops increased capacity across Europe; and this will continue over the coming decade.
“For UKBIC, this additional funding will ensure that we retain our leading-edge manufacturing capability for the UK and can continue to support our industry in the next few years as novel chemistries and formats scale towards volume production.”
UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser concluded: “Advanced battery technology will play a central role in our lives and the economy, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, creating new jobs and opening up new opportunities. The Faraday Battery Challenge is at the forefront of the clean technology revolution, catalysing collaboration and innovation that will benefit society. This exciting work and the further investment announced today underline the ways in which research and innovation can help to create a sustainable future while driving economic growth.”