New development centre aims to supercharge UK battery development

A West Midlands partnership has been awarded £80m to establish a new National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility that will develop products for vehicles and transportation.

Battery research

The new national facility — to be established in the Coventry and Warwickshire area by Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Coventry City Council — will be open to UK companies and researchers wanting to develop manufacturing technologies for batteries and their components. In doing so, it is expected to provide a new strategic link between the research, development and full-scale industrialisation for battery technologies across Britain.

The new facility will also host a learning facility to train the future skills base in all elements of battery manufacturing, which will include the next generation of battery systems across battery chemistry, electrodes, cell design, module and pack levels.

WMG has spent 15 years working with industry to develop and prove new battery technologies. More recently they have been working through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Spoke, the National Battery Scale-Up facility and the Energy Research Accelerator. Research projects already underway are investigating new battery technologies, how to scale up battery manufacturing, and the reuse and recycling of batteries.

Prof Lord Bhattacharyya, chairman of WMG said: “Having a 37-year track record of working jointly with industry to innovate, and as leaders, for over 10 years, in battery development, WMG are poised to continue to drive forward battery innovation and help create growth and employment in the UK.”

“Coventry and the sub region have a significant contribution to make in the delivery of the UK’s national industrial strategy, being in a strong position to lead the advancement of battery development, and vehicle electrification and autonomous vehicles. It will be at the heart of the drive to make the city a smart motor city.”

Making today's announcement, Greg Clark, business and energy secretary said: “Battery technology is one of the most game-changing forms of energy innovation and it is one of the cornerstones of our ambition, through the Industrial Strategy and the Faraday Challenge, to ensure that the UK leads the world, and reaps the economic benefits, in the global transition to a low carbon economy.

“The new facility, based in Coventry and Warwickshire, will propel the UK forward in this thriving area, bringing experts from academia and industry together to deliver innovation and R&D that will further enhance the West Midlands’ international reputation as a cluster of automotive excellence.”

Martin Yardley, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), added: “This will be a centre which will lead and drive forward battery technologies, making alternative vehicle propulsion systems practical across a wide range of uses.”

The National Battery Manufacturing Development was part of the government’s £246m Faraday Challenge and awarded through a competition led by the APC, supported by Innovate UK. It is also an initial element of the government’s new Industrial Strategy.