Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced the first phase of a £246million investment into battery technology, today launching the ‘Faraday Challenge’.
MP Greg Clark, speaking at an event hosted by Resolution Foundation in Birmingham, launched the initiative in a speech which focused on the UK’s Industrial Strategy.
Phase one of the battery technology investment involves a £45million ‘Battery Institute’ competition, created to find the best centre to carry out battery research. The investment hopes to ensure the UK builds on its strengths and leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.
During his keynote speech today, Greg Clark said: “Upgrading our energy system to make sure it is fit for the future is a key part of our Industrial Strategy. A smarter energy system will create opportunities to reduce energy costs, increase productivity and put UK businesses in a leading position to export smart energy technology and services to the rest of the world.”
The ‘Faraday Challenge, named after the pioneering scientist, will be spread over four years and is a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, which looks for different approaches to improve the living standards and economic growth across the country by increasing productivity.
The challenge will deliver a coordinated programme of competitions looking to boost the research and development of expertise in battery technology. A board will be established and managed by Professor Richard Parry-Jones, a senior engineering leader with many decades of industry experience.
The competitions involved in the Faraday Challenge will be split into three sections – research, innovation and scale-up – all of which are designed to create a change in converting the UK’s leading research into technology the market can use, to make sure the UK has economic success.
CEO of Skeleton Technologies, Taavi Madiberk, highlighted the significance of this announcement as Europeans companies move towards using new approaches for energy consumption, as well as how the evolution of battery technology is vital for the UK to internationally compete.
Madiberk said “Following the announcement by business and energy secretary, Greg Clark that the government is set to invest £246m in developing battery technology in Britain, it is clear that energy technology is seen as the lynchpin to productivity and growth in the UK.
“With big European players such as Volvo and BMW already announcing a move to incorporate electric vehicles and a hybrid approach to energy consumption, the government’s investment is a vital step forward to ensure that the UK can remain competitive in a market that is moving at a rapid pace.
“However, the development of battery technology is coupled with a need to optimise UK infrastructure to ensure it can support the surge in charging capabilities. We need to look to supporting technologies that complement battery power, such as ultracapacitor technology, to allow us to smooth the peak power needs and manage the growing demands on our energy infrastructure to ensure that we continue to benefit from a stable and reliable power source. The UK is already lagging behind the likes of Norway, Switzerland and France who are already starting to set industry benchmarks in this area.”
The challenge makes up one of six areas the government has identified as being one of the UK’s core industrial challenges. Other challenges selected for investment are; Healthcare & Medicines, Robotics & AI, Clean & Flexible energy. Driverless Vehicles and Manufacturing & Materials.