The funding is being provided by UK Research and Innovation as part of the government’s £610m Faraday Battery Challenge, a national investment programme delivered by Innovate UK. The Challenge supports scientific technology development and manufacturing scale-up capability for batteries in the UK.
Announced as part of the Autumn statement, this funding builds on the £36m committed by Faraday Battery Challenge in May. UKBIC said that preparatory work on construction of the facility is already underway.
According to UKBIC, the further funding for the national battery manufacturing scale-up facility will enhance its offering to customers and enable new developments:
A secondary electrode line said to offer new modular equipment capacity for coating, drying and calendering of electrodes, allowing more innovative processing methods to be developed and trialled alongside existing customer scale-up activities.
The creation of a specialist 800m2 flexible industrialisation space to provide a dedicated clean and dry room environment, which can be subdivided for different use cases, for customers to develop their own individual processes or machinery under carefully controlled environmental conditions.
UKBIC said the introduction of advanced digital manufacturing will provide customers with real-time knowledge transfer by giving access to data analytics, advanced machine learning, and tools for learning and visualisation increasingly required by technology developers. The funding will enable companies to better understand new data in real-time, but also provide a foundation for future developments in smart manufacturing for the battery industry.
In a statement, Sean Gilgunn, UKBIC’s managing director, said: “This latest funding announcement is fantastic news for UKBIC and the battery industry. The investment in the new equipment and capability will mean that many more customers will be able to use the facility seamlessly to develop battery manufacturing through to large-scale demonstration.
“The added introduction of digital manufacturing at the facility will provide customers with an even better data-driven understanding of their manufacturing processes, a capability which customers will increasingly expect as the industry evolves.”
The new capability, which UKBIC said is expected to be operational during 2025, aims to provide battery developers with an increasingly cost-effective route to market, enabling companies to move from R&D through to large-scale production, without having to use overseas facilities.