3 minute read - 1st December 2023
£38m to upgrade the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre
The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) has secured a further £38m in funding to upgrade the facility’s scale-up capabilities, supporting innovation projects for high-tech developers and users of battery technologies.
The new funding, announced as part of the Autumn Statement, is principally for UKBIC’s innovative flexible scale-up line, and builds upon the £36m already committed by the Faraday Battery Challenge in May. Preparatory work on construction of the facility is already underway.
The funding for the scale-up facility will enhance its offering to customers and enable activities including the introduction of a secondary electrode line, offering new modular equipment capacity for coating, drying and calendering of electrodes, and allowing more innovative processing methods to be developed and trialled alongside existing customer scale-up activities.
In addition, the creation of a specialist 800m2 flexible industrialisation space will 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. The funding will also enhance the development of advanced digital manufacturing capability to transform how data is analysed for innovative products and processes being scaled up at UKBIC.
The new flexible scale-up line will bridge the gap between UKBIC’s existing volume industrialisation line and kilogramme scale demonstrator lines available elsewhere. The new capability, which is expected to be operational during 2025, will 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.
The funding is being provided by UK Research and Innovation, as part of the UK Government’s £610m Faraday Battery Challenge, a national investment programme which is delivered by Innovate UK. The Challenge supports world-class scientific technology development and manufacturing scale-up capability for batteries in the UK.
The introduction of advanced digital manufacturing at UKBIC 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, through the process of continually understanding, developing and improving. The funding will enable companies to better understand new data in real-time, but also provide a vital foundation for future developments in smart manufacturing for the battery industry.
Tony Harper, director of the Faraday Battery Challenge, said: “This new funding will help make UKBIC’s world-class scale-up facilities an even more attractive proposition to domestic and global battery developers. UKBIC’s flexible scale-up line, in addition to the new dedicated industrialisation space, and the introduction of digital manufacturing capability will further help position the UK and UKBIC as the place to go for battery development and scale-up.”
Sean Gilgunn, UKBIC’s managing director, added: “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 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 Coventry-based facility, which opened in July 2021, is used by organisations with new or existing battery technologies and provides battery manufacturing scale-up and skills for the battery sector.