UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced an additional £27.6 million of funding from the Faraday Battery Challenge to support battery research and development projects to “drive the growth of a strong battery business in the UK.”
The overall budget for the Faraday Battery Challenge fund is £541 million. Whilst the original programme ran from 2017 to 2022, an extension has been granted until March 2025.
Partners include Innovate UK, the research organisation, the Faraday Institution and UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC).
In total, 17 projects received funding including:
DigiTwin – Waygate Technologies and UKBIC
This project aims to establish the feasibility of creating a digital twin of UKBIC for quality and yield improvement at a battery gigafactory. It will also explore the effectiveness of using an open access X-ray computed tomography (CT) digital solution as an advanced analytic tool to rapidly identify and resolve quality defects.
REBLEND – Ecoshred
REBLEND was created to build the basis of a UK automotive battery recycling industry. To achieve this the project will further develop processes of directly recovering valuable cathode active materials (CAM) from consumer batteries, end of life vehicles and production scrap to be reused in automotive batteries.
The project aims to combine a number of techniques including novel delamination, magnetic, membrane and electrostatic separation to produce separated and >89% pure anodic and >94% pure cathodic black mass from shredded end of life batteries. This would then enable battery-grade CAM recovery for £6/kg.
Other project partners consist of University of Leicester, University of Birmingham, Minviro, Iconichem Widnes, Watercycle Technologies, Ecolamp Recycling, and Cornish Lithium.
Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries – OXLiD
Led by OxLiD, this scheme builds on the Faraday Institution’s LiSTAR project by focusing on accelerating the development of quasi-solid-state Li-S batteries.
Specifically, the project is working to increase the number of cycles an Li-S battery can sustain before it reaches its end of life; improve the amount of energy an Li-S battery can store per unit volume; and increase the an Li-S battery’s operating temperature range.
The University of Nottingham, University College London, William Blythe, WAE, Exawatt, Emerson and Renwick, and Infineum UK are also partnering on the project.
The HISTORY – multiple
The high silicon content anodes for a solid-state battery (HISTORY) project will develop a multi-layer, solid state pouch cell with aligning specifications for the needs of electric vehicle (EV) pack developers.
Ilika Technologies Ltd will design and develop the solid state battery (SSB) cell whilst researchers at the University of St Andrews will characterise the interfaces and material interconnections within the multi-layer pouch cell.
University College London and Imperial College London will also collaborate on the project to model the expansion and contraction of the SSB at single-layer, multi-layer and pack level.
Other project partners include Nexeon Technologies and the Centre for Process Innovation.
EXtrAPower – Nyobolt
Nyobolt batteries aim to optimise cell performance over an extended operating temperature range and enable an enhanced cycle life. Which would then bring ultra-fast charging battery technology to the market.
Dr Israel Temprano is a researcher on the Faraday Institution’s Degradation project who based at the University of Cambridge and will lead the project in optimising electrolyte formulations.
Other points of focus for projects receiving the UKRI’s latest funding include balancing requirements and building a circular economy.
Professor Pam Thomas, CEO of the Faraday Institution said: “The Faraday Battery Challenge is working as intended to marry research, innovation and scaleup to deliver positive impact for the UK. The 17 projects announced by Innovate UK today will help create a thriving and profitable UK battery development and manufacturing industry.”