The UK battery market is gearing up for the growing demand for electric vehicles. This article will discuss innovative projects streamlining the complex, expensive, and lengthy manufacturing and recycling processes to accelerate the growth of the UK battery market.
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The UK government's decision to ban internal-combustion engine vehicles by 2030 has resulted in significant growth in the battery industry as the country shifts to electric vehicles.
This rapid transition created a pressing need in the battery market, increasing demand for new batteries and battery production in the region. To address this, the UK government offers funding opportunities, such as the Faraday Battery Challenge, to help local startups and industries develop innovative battery technologies to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.
Faraday Battery Challenge: Innovative British Battery Projects
The Faraday Battery Challenge is a collaborative effort that unites world-leading research, manufacturing, and business innovation to accelerate the growth of the UK's battery industry. It aims to improve battery technology in the UK by reducing cost and weight, increasing power and energy, and enhancing the recyclability and reliability of the battery.
As we move towards a net zero future, the UK's electric vehicle industry must continue to evolve. These winning projects have all shown how their ideas can potentially accelerate the development of technologies or business practices in the UK.
Tony Harper, Director, Faraday Battery Challenge
The UK's battery market is set to accelerate with the recent allocation of £27.6 million in funding from the Faraday Battery Challenge. Several projects will benefit from this funding, and some of them are shared below.
Recovering Active Materials from Black Mass for Automotive Battery Remanufacturing
The REBLEND project seeks to establish a UK-based automotive battery recycling industry by developing processes for recovering valuable cathode materials from end-of-life batteries and production scrap.
The project combines electrostatic, magnetic, delamination, and membrane separation techniques to manufacture pure anodic and cathodic black mass, enabling the recovery of battery-grade cathode active materials at the cost of £6/kg.
The project is led by Ecoshred, with the University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Iconichem Widnes, Minviro, Ecolamp Recycling, Watercycle Technologies, and Cornish Lithium.
Quasi-Solid-State Li-S Batteries
OXLiD is spearheading a project to expedite the developing, scaling, and commercializing of quasi-solid-state lithium-sulfur batteries. Lithium-sulfur batteries are a promising technology for lightweight, high-performance energy storage applications.
The project aims to enhance Li-S batteries' cycle life, operating temperature range, and energy density by developing suitable electrolytes, separators, and electrodes.
The project is led by University College London, University of Nottingham, WAE, William Blythe, Emerson and Renwick, Exawatt, and Infineum UK.
Ultra-Fast Charging Battery by EXtrAPower
EXtrAPower, a project led by Nyobolt with the collaboration of Coventry University, University of Cambridge, and WAE, aims to develop an ultra-fast charging battery technology.
The project will optimize the performance of the battery cell and extend its operating temperature range while improving its cycle life. The new technology promises significant advantages over existing state-of-the-art batteries.
Digital Twin for Yield and Quality Improvement at Battery Gigafactory
Improving battery production speed and productivity is a significant challenge in scaling up battery production. To address this, Waygate Technologies and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre are working on an X-ray computed tomography (CT) digital solution, the DigiTwin project.
The DigiTwin project develops a digital twin of the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre to investigate the efficacy of computed tomography scanning as an analytical tool for rapidly and precisely identifying, analyzing, and resolving quality issues.
A 1% yield increase in a 20 GWh gigafactory, achieved through this project, could save over £21 million annually and minimize rare earth resource waste.
Conductor: Lightweight and Thin Current Collector for Lithium-Ion Battery
The project will produce a lightweight and inexpensive polymer current collector to replace the copper and aluminum foil current collectors in lithium-ion batteries.
The new technology could reduce the weight of a typical 50 kg automotive battery pack by 4 kg, resulting in an increased charge and power density. The project is led by Euriscus, Rapid Powders, the University of Warwick, Graphene Star, and Global Nano Network.
Constellation Project: Development of 3D Electrodes
The Constellation project is improving the production of smart 3D electrode Lithium-ion batteries using new current collectors designed through artificial intelligence and customized coating for the electrodes. This will help reduce the time and cost of scaling cell production and ultimately lower manufacturing costs.
The project will also provide a drop-in solution for the supply of affordable electrodes to gigafactories with minimal disruption. The project is led by CPI, Addionics Limited, the University of Warwick, and James Durrans & Sons Limited.
ReLiB: Re-Use and Recycling of Lithium-ion Batteries
ReLiB, a project led by the University of Birmingham and Newcastle University, develops recycling methods that could offer competitive advantages for UK businesses.
The project involves minimizing the time and cost of dismantling battery packs, remanufacturing costs, efficiently recovering high-value materials, and designing more recyclable EV batteries.
Future of the UK's Battery Industry
Ongoing investment in battery research and manufacturing demonstrates the UK government's dedication to a sustainable, clean energy future for its citizens. Recent advances in battery technology will accelerate the UK's transition to a carbon-neutral economy while providing new financial possibilities.
As the demand for green energy grows, the role of batteries will become crucial, and the UK will be at the forefront of this industry.
Efficient and reliable batteries are the key to powering new, green industries that will create jobs and enable our UK-made transition to net zero – from our world-leading renewables industry to our growing electric vehicle sector.
Nusrat Ghani, Minister for Industry and Investment Security
References and Further Reading
UKRI. (2023). Delivering the future of battery technology. [Online]. UK Research and Innovation. Available at: https://www.ukri.org/news/delivering-the-future-of-battery-technology/ (Accessed on 20 February 2023)
APCUK. (2022). 2025 and Beyond: Promising battery cell innovations for the UK automotive sector. [Online]. Advanced Propulsion Centre UK. Available at: https://www.apcuk.co.uk/2025-battery-insight-report/ (Accessed on 20 February 2023)
Constantinou, S. (2023). Battery Research Moves to Next Stage of Commercialisation. [Online]. The Faraday Institution. Available at: https://www.faraday.ac.uk/round-5/ (Accessed on 20 February 2023)
Mrozik, W. (2019). Recycling and Re-Use of Lithium-Ion Batteries (ReLiB). In Electrochemical Society Meeting Abstracts 236 (No. 5, pp. 451-451). The Electrochemical Society. http://doi.org/10.1149/MA2019-02/5/451
Whitlock, R. (2023). Nyobolt wins new funding for ultrafast charging. [Online]. Renewable Energy Magazine. Available at: https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/electric_hybrid_vehicles/nyobolt-wins-new-funding-for-ultrafast-charging-20230130 (Accessed on 20 February 2023)
UKBIC. (2022). Waygate Technologies & UKBIC Sign Memorandum of Understanding. https://www.ukbic.co.uk/ (Accessed on 20 February 2023)
The Faraday Battery Challenge. (2023.). Faraday Institution. Retrieved from https://www.faraday.ac.uk/the-faraday-battery-challenge/
Addionics. (2023). Advanced Battery Technology for Safe and Fast Charging. Retrieved from https://www.addionics.com/
Iconic Industrial Ltd. (2023). Sustainable batteries and chemicals. Retrieved from http://www.iconichem.com/
Minviro. (2023). Sustainability - life cycle assessment - carbon footprint - circular economy. Retrieved from https://www.minviro.com/
Ecolamp Ltd. (2023). Lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle recycling. Retrieved from https://ecolamp.co.uk/lithium-ion-battery-and-electric-vehicle-recycling/
WaterCycle Technologies. (2023). The EV Transport Revolution. Retrieved from https://www.watercycletechnologies.com/
Cornish Lithium Ltd. (2023). A New Dawn for the Energy Transition. Retrieved from https://cornishlithium.com/
Williams Advanced Engineering. (2023). Battery modules. Retrieved from https://wae.com/our-solutions/our-products/battery-modules/
William Blythe. (2023). Home. Retrieved from https://www.williamblythe.com/home/
E&R. (2023). Innovation and Industry. Retrieved from https://eandr.com
Exawatt. (2023). Enabling decarbonization through electrification. Retrieved from https://exa-watt.com/
Infineum. (2023). Electric vehicles. Retrieved from https://www.infineum.com/en-gb/sustainability/infineum-in-the-everyday/electric-vehicles/
Nyobolt. (2023). The Solution to Charge Anxiety. Retrieved from https://nyobolt.com/
UK Battery Industrialisation Centre. (2023). Home. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from https://www.ukbic.co.uk/
Global Nano Network. (2023). Powered Innovation. Retrieved from https://www.globalnano.network/