The University of Warwick in England’s West Midlands has been awarded millions of pounds “to boost British production of crucial materials for electric car batteries”.

The GBP12m in funding was awarded by the Faraday Battery Challenge to the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and CPI at NETPark (North East Technology Park), in County Durham.

It will be used to create the new Advanced Materials Battery Industrialisation Centre (AMBIC).

The centre will bridge the gap between academic research and battery production and will focus on how batteries can be made to work more efficiently, as well as on equipment and skills development.

“The centre is needed to help the UK develop the electric vehicle batteries of the future, with reduced costs, more sustainable materials and improved performance,” the university said in a statement.

“Electric vehicle batteries make up around half the cost of a new electric vehicle, so reducing the cost of their production is crucial to lowering the cost of EVs to parity with combustion engine vehicles.

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“The funds are part of a wider investment strategy by the Faraday Battery Challenge and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to ramp up Britain’s battery production and infrastructure to boost the UK’s domestic battery supply chain.”

David Greenwood, CEO of the centre said: “Cathode and anode active materials make up more than 50% of the value of an automotive battery cell.”

“For the UK to take its great academic research into production, and to capture the billions of pounds of resulting economic value in the UK, we need facilities which allow Britain to scale up and fully evaluate new materials.

“This investment, alongside the combined skillsets of CPI and WMG will provide that capability for the UK.”

The funds are specifically to help “turbocharge the scale up of battery materials manufacturing within the UK”. Only by producing batteries on a wider scale domestically can the EV industry ensure there is no bottleneck in supply and demand. By strengthening UK supply chains of battery materials, WMG is working with UKBIC and others to create a more resilient supply chain.

Thomas Bartlett, deputy director of the Faraday Battery Challenge, said: “AMBIC will bring together two emerging regions of battery innovation and manufacturing; the North-East and Midlands, under one facility to de-risk and accelerate battery materials scale up in the UK.

“Through [this investment]…. we will establish a truly world-class facility to support the growth of a battery materials supply chain. With AMBIC and previous investments in cell, module and pack scale-up at UKBIC and R&D in the wider ecosystem, the UK will now be in a position to support businesses from ‘powder to pack’ and from lab to commercial scale.”

Katherine Bennett, CEO of catapult, said: “The next generation of battery technologies are critical to the green energy transition and a major opportunity for UK manufacturing. Realising that potential will require combining our collective expertise and this investment…. is a brilliant example of that in action.”

Frank Millar, CEO at CPI, added: “[AMBIC] will enhance the UK’s existing competitive advantages in batteries technology.”