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£16.7m of funding awarded to support green electric revolution

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has awarded £16.7m of funding towards building the manufacturing capability Britain needs to lead the green electric revolution.

The funding will be divided among 10 different projects based around the UK, each aiming to help develop the self-sufficiency of Britain’s supply chains for power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD).

This funding aims to build the UK’s manufacturing base for these components, while also creating jobs and insulating Britain against possible future overseas supply chain disruption. The 10 projects being funded by UKRI’s supply chains for net zero competition cover a wide range of technologies and processes, all vital to achieving a net zero supply chain. The £16.7m investment announcement is part of an overall funding pot of £80m.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has awarded £16.7m of funding to support 10 projects, each helping to develop the manufacturing capabilities needed to lead the green electric revolution / Picture: Getty/iStock

UKRI’s challenge director, Professor Will Drury, said: “The coming electric revolution presents an opportunity to put the UK at the forefront of a burgeoning industry, creating manufacturing jobs and prosperity across the country. By building a sovereign supply chain, we can help make sure zero emission technologies are truly zero emission, while both mitigating against overseas supply chain disruption and cementing the UK’s place at the forefront of a burgeoning industry.”

One project, led by Ricardo UK, will develop sustainable electric motors that need 12kg less rare earth metals per motor than current models, making them more sustainable. This project will also enable the UK to scale motor production and transition to electrified transport, while reducing the impact of changes in international markets.

Other projects cover plans to develop sovereign supply chains for manufacturing a range of PEMD components and products. UKRI says these are vital for ensuring the UK can play a leading role in the future of electric transport, utilities and industry.

This investment will support the UK’s push towards a net zero carbon economy and contribute to the development of clean technology supply chains worth £80bn by 2050. As well as investing in innovation, £33m is going to create a network of regional industrialisation centres, based at existing areas of expertise in Strathclyde, Sunderland, Nottingham and Newport.

In addition, £6m of funding will go towards training the skilled workforce needed to support the UK’s high-tech green economy of the future.

One company involved in a project to develop enhanced liquid immersion power systems is Supply Design Limited, its director of business development, Marc Brand, added: “For many sectors the future is electric, and the UK can take a leading role, but only if companies of all sizes and in all parts of the country are involved. The funding from driving the electric revolution challenge is helping us to act like a large innovative integrated multinational.

“It’s allowing us to bring together advanced simulations tools, high-value manufacturing capability, and development expertise to maximise novel UK intellectual property. Without support, the interaction would be too risky and we would lose the collaborative interaction, expertise and focus required to create clear competitive advantages in this fast-growing niche.”

Another project that will focus on supply chain innovation engineering for net zero, or SCIENZE, will receive £2.4m of funding to allow its project partners to: supply up to 100,000 power electronics-based products by 2025; safeguard more than 150 high-value engineering jobs; and secure follow-on investment of at least £4.5m in UK-based industries.

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