Cross-Sectoral Opportunities for Batteries: A new community launch & £10m funding

Posted on: 22/10/2020

In late September, KTN was delighted to play a key role in supporting innovation for batteries – the launch of the Cross-Sector Battery Systems Innovation Network.

The network is an open and collaborative cross-sectoral community for researchers and innovators in battery manufacturing; related supply chain and end-users.

The community launched over a webinar where the Chairs Kevin Brundish of AMTE Power and Nick Carpenter of Delta Motorsports introduced the vision to crystallise the innovation existing in the UK. This vision includes building a reliable supply chain, finding new markets along manufacturing routes and a move away from niche automotive applications into wider mainstream applications. Each sector has a key requirement and thus a key challenge. An example is power density needs in aerospace, showing similarities to motorsport applications, which finds similarities in construction.

The morning also included opening remarks from Tony Harper, Faraday Battery Challenge Director, who emphasised on the significant role that batteries can play to support the Net Zero agenda, by helping with decarbonising a wide range of sectors, beyond automotive. There is a need for batteries of some description to meet various legislatures and demands being made by consumers and other end-users. Anna Wise expanded on these diverse set of targets and priorities. Some key focuses include recyclability and safety.

Attendees were then presented with case studies on the benefits of batteries for rail, aerospace and defence. Representing rail was Angel Trains, comparing diesel as a fuel source versus hydrogen, nitrogen and diesel hybrids. Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), an independent advocacy organisation backed by government and industry, for new technology solutions in air transport highlighted the importance of batteries supporting sustainability, mobility and competitiveness. The UK Defence Solutions Centre (UK DSC) presented on the opportunities for batteries in the defence sector.

The event concluded with a re-emphasis on this Innovation Network’s aims:

  1. Open new markets for the battery industry
  2. Promote innovations in batteries
  3. Help decarbonise a wide range of end-users

During the latter part of the day, the Faraday Battery Challenge launched a £10m Competition which will help to realise these wide-ranging opportunities for batteries. The aim of this competition is to support the research and development of the most promising innovative battery technologies for the propulsion of electric vehicles, building on the outputs of previous activity to accelerate towards commercialisation. Potential sectors include:

  • rail
  • marine
  • aerospace
  • defence
  • Off-highway

Faraday Battery Challenge Round 4 Competition:

Why do we need this community?

The idea for this Innovation Network first came to be in 2018 when a semi-formal group convened, and it soon became obvious that there was a curiosity and appetite for this solution. The founding members were a diverse group covering aerospace, rail, defence, battery technology specialists and academia. By officially convening this network, KTN aims to address the fragmentation across the sectors by shortening the loop and providing a clear understanding of potential solutions. This Innovation Network also fits into the wider agenda of Net Zero and decarbonising and will be working closely with our two other Innovation Networks, Hydrogen Economy and Decarbonising of Ports & Harbours, by identifying gaps in sectors and cross-sector commonalities.

What can you look forward to?

The first step is to gather information on organisations, technical expertise and supply chain players within this space. To enable you to connect with the right people and to feature on our landscape map, join the community. You will also get regular updates on the latest activities, thought leadership papers and case studies within the UK.

We have a new report which will be distributed to members only, so this is another reason to get involved quickly. This discussion document for the UK Battery Community titled ‘From Research and Manufacturing to Application and End of Life – Enabling Electrification Across Sectors’ looks at battery targets and priorities across sectors, from 2020 to 2035. This report has been produced through the close collaboration between the APC, APC Spoke community, Faraday and WMG to ensure that the targets are set consistently. This report is also aligned with the soon to be published refreshed APC and Aerospace Technology Institute roadmaps. Any feedback either concurrence or suggestions for modification and improvements will be co-ordinated via this Cross-Sector Battery Systems Innovation Network.

Our first planned activity in the new year will be our “Batteries For…” series which will explore challenges and opportunities within key sectors. In this series we will bring the community together to identify technical difficulties and gaps, discussing topics like end of life, material requirements and how the supply chain will build around this. Stay tuned for more information.

In the meantime, we will be also collecting and analysing the data gathered as part of new member sign-ups to create a landscape map of the battery industry, supply chain and end-user applications. This will become available via our new online hub in the coming months. You can sign up to become part of the Community now to keep abreast of all the latest developments and news.

Over the coming months, KTN will continue being at the heart of battery innovation, building the community through the Cross-Sector Battery Systems Innovation Network and providing support to potential applicants of the Competition. Stay in touch!

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