A major new initiative for energy storage research, the Faraday Institution (FI), has been announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Institution, formed by seven university partners, will have its headquarters on the Harwell Campus, home to the major national research facilities that include Diamond Light Source, the ISIS Neutron and Muon Facility and the Central Laser Facility.
The FI, announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark, will deliver an integrated programme of research, innovation and the scale-up of novel battery technologies. The Institution will have a core budget of £65m over four years, with an additional £13m managed by EPSRC.
Diamond and ISIS will be important partners for the FI, with their world-leading instrumentation and significant multidisciplinary research capabilities that impact the multiple challenges that must be addressed for battery research and innovation.
Laurent Chapon, Physical Sciences Director at Diamond says “The Faraday Institution will be an important centre for a vital research field, bringing together experts from across the UK and ensuring access to the best possible equipment, including those housed here at Diamond. Our energy research portfolio continues to grow, and we look forward to welcoming the Faraday Institution HQ to the Campus to continue to build on our strengths in this area.”
Bill David, STFC Senior Fellow at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source says “Together neutrons, X-rays and muons underpin our fundamental understanding of the 21st century materials world. In this Battery Challenge, the world-leading facilities and expertise at Harwell will provide insights that inform and direct many of the multiple cross-disciplinary challenges that we face in moving towards a future electrified economy. We look forward to welcoming the Faraday Institution HQ on to the Harwell Campus and to working in close partnership with academia and industry to inform invention and accelerate innovation.”
The Institution’s founding universities are; University of Cambridge, University College London, Imperial College London, Newcastle University, University of Oxford, University of Southampton and University of Warwick.
The Institution will allocate funds to a series of research challenge projects across the battery technology space. The FI will actively manage that research portfolio, aiming to accelerate science to market, and to allow flexible use of funding for maximum impact. The first four projects which the Institute will manage focus on mitigating degradation processes to extend battery life; designing better battery systems through multi-scale modelling; inventing the solid-state batteries industry desires to permit longer driving range; and ensuring a sustainable industry through recycling and second-life use.
The investment in the Institution comes from the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and forms part of a total £246m commitment to battery technology.
Professor Peter Littlewood, the founding Director of the Faraday Institution, said “Michael Faraday founded battery science and electrical engines in the 19th Century, and the UK led the invention of Li-ion batteries for mobile electronics in the 20th. In the 21st, it should lead in the transition to electrification of vehicles, and then in the convergence of the digital and electrified economy. This is the goal of the Faraday Institution.”