Government announces £211m funding programme for battery development
The Government has unveiled more than £210m in funding for battery research, development and innovation to drive progress toward electric vehicle production and energy storage systems.
The new £211m funding round was announced by Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg on Friday (21 September) as part of the UK’s Faraday Battery Challenge, which began in 2017.
The Challenge supports the development and manufacturing scale-up capability for batteries in the UK. The latest funding will help scale up fast-charging battery production to be used for domestic energy storage and electric vehicles.
The funding forms part of the 2022-25 delivery programme by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) with support from the Faraday Institution, Innovate UK and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC). The Government claims it will support more than 100,00 jobs in battery gigafactories and the battery supply chain by 2040.
Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “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.”
The Challenge has supported over 140 organisations working across the UK, attracting over £400 million in further private sector investment. It has enabled the Faraday Institution, the UK’s independent battery research body, to unite 500 researchers across more than 25 universities to improve current and develop future battery technologies.
Demand for battery-powered vehicles in the UK continues to steadily rise. Figures for September released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that EV demand helped deliver a 4.6% increase in new car registrations.
The SMMT data found that new vehicle registrations for the month rose from 215,312 last year, to 225,269 this year. However, this is still a third lower than pre-pandemic levels. EV registration rose by 16.5% compared to the same month last year, but the SMMT does note that this is slower growth compared to the start of the year.
The UK’s energy storage pipeline is also growing rapidly and has surpassed 32GW for the first time in April this year, according to trade body RenewableUK.
Figures released by RenewableUK confirm that the total capacity of energy storage projects in operation, under construction, consented and in the planning system now stands at 32.1GW. This is almost double the total capacity recorded under RenewableUK’s same workstream last year, when the headline figure was 16.1GW. The data is listed in the RenewableUK EnergyPulse Energy Storage report.
Only a minority of the pipeline is either fully operational (1.59GW) or under construction (1.45GW) – more than half (18.6GW) consists of projects that are in the development or planning stages. Nonetheless, the UK’s operational energy storage capacity has grown by a considerable 45% year on year.
According to RenewableUK, the average energy storage project size is now 54MW, up from 2MW within a ten-year period. The predominant technology remains lithium-ion batteries.
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