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WMG launches new sustainable elastomer research facility

WMG, at the University of Warwick, has launched its new sustainable elastomer research facility based in the International Institute for NanocompositesImage of new sustainable elastomer research facility Manufacturing (IINM).

High performance elastomers are essential components in applications across a range of critical sectors, most notably for vehicle tyres, but also for footwear, soft robotics and automation.

However, the high durability of conventional rubbers also results in them being extremely difficult to recycle at the end of their service life, with many simply being incinerated and buried in landfills. The need for new and sustainable elastomer technology is becoming more urgent as society transitions towards fully electric vehicles, which are currently heavier and can cause tyre wear up to 30% faster. Tyre wear emission is accumulated as the second largest microplastics pollution globally.

The main scientific focus of the new facility is to bring together state-of-the-art research from across rubber composite processing and synthetic polymer chemistry - including manufacturing technology, multiscale characterisation, and prototype sustainable rubber products.

Capabilities within the facility include a twin-roll mill for rubber compounding; automated compression moulding and moving die rheometer (MDR); abrasion testing; and a new dynamic rubber process analyser (RPA), which enables advanced analysis of rubber networks over a temperature range of -40 °C to 232 °C, and a wide frequency range, as well as unique rheological characterisation at large amplitude oscillatory shear (LAOS).

Within the IINM there is also a wet chemistry laboratory designed for new formulation development, and rubber and nanoparticle functionalisation, as well as polymer characterisation and testing laboratories to support sustainable elastomer research and development.

Dr Chaoying Wan, Reader of Functional Polymers and Nanocomposites at WMG, University of Warwick explains: “Our new RPA has the capacity of a wider temperature range - it is the only one in the UK, and one of only a few in the world. This function is extremely useful for evaluating elastomer materials as well as for advanced scientific analysis. With support from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, we are excited to be furthering our research towards extending the functionality of rubber materials and making the products recyclable and sustainable at end-of-life.”

Image of new sustainable elastomer research facilityProjects currently underway in the new facility include integrating self-healing properties which result in improved safety and extended lifespan for tyres; stretchable sensors; and investigating other rubber products to enhance the durability of rubbers by the addition of nanofillers, including graphene, and recycling of rubbers for road and pavement uses.

Find out more about WMG’s Nanocomposites research here: Nanocomposites (warwick.ac.uk)

Contacts:

Dr Chaoying Wan – Rubber Chemistry and Dielectric Elastomer Technology

Professor Tony McNally - Composites of Elastomers and Nanomaterials


WMG and Jaguar Land Rover bridge the gap between academia and industry through the appointment of new Industrial Professor

Image of Dr MouzakitisWMG at the University of Warwick has demonstrated its intentions to continue delivering industrially-informed research and education by bolstering its expertise and appointing Dr Alex Mouzakitis, Programme Director for Cyber Security at Jaguar Land Rover, as an Industrial Professor of Automotive Systems.

The new role has been awarded to Dr Mouzakitis in recognition of an influential 20-year career at Jaguar Land Rover, within which he has been leading collaborative multi-million-pound research and development projects and helping shape industrially relevant education across automotive machine learning, software development, architectural systems and cyber security with WMG since 2006.

The main objective of the Industrial Professorship is to bridge industry and academia, helping industrialise academic research approaches and shape education to help Jaguar Land Rover adopt the latest talent and technologies within its operations and product line.

As part of his new role, Dr Mouzakitis will be delivering lectures, defining agendas, addressing skills gaps and future needs for training, supporting bids for collaborative research projects, supervising PhD students and featuring on WMG advisory panels.

Commenting on the Industrial Professorship, Dr Mouzakitis said:

“It’s a privilege and an honour to receive the appointment. This is recognition for the work that I have done fully-hearted over the past 20 years, and this motivates me for the next 20 years. This also carries a level of responsibility to do more going forward as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Creators’ Code to deliver modern luxury through exceptional engineering. I’ve had an active working relationship with WMG for over 16 years and look forward to continuing this relationship to help prepare for and respond to future skills needs throughout the automotive industry.

“We need to produce graduates that are better equipped to take on industrial jobs from day one, without the need to retrain. I will be addressing this and exploring what we can do to close this skills gap. If we are to retain and add to the volume and quality of manufacturing in the UK, whilst remaining competitive globally, we need skills.”

Since achieving a PhD in ‘Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for Autonomous Vehicles’ at the University of Wales (now known as the University of South Wales) in 2002, and later achieving an EngD (Title: Innovative Solutions for Automotive Embedded Software Development) at WMG, University of Warwick, Dr Mouzakitis has published over 135 academic papers across international journals and conferences and has also been actively contributing to the creation and delivery of MSc programme content.

Dr Mouzakitis is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the IET and InstMC engineering institutions. He is a member of Industrial Advisory Panels across several international conferences, a member of the InstMC System and Control Technology Panel, the InstMC National Council and the InstMC Accreditation Panel.  

Thomas Müller, Executive Director of Product Engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, commented:

“I want to say a big congratulations to Alex. Not only is it a great personal achievement, but it is also hugely significant for Jaguar Land Rover. This appointment will help us to bridge the gap between industry and academia, something that is increasingly important as we continue to Reimagine and become a proud creator of modern luxury.”

Dr Mouzakitis has affiliations and collaborative research relationships with other internationally-renowned academic institutions, including the University of Cambridge, Harvard University, University of Oxford, MIT Media Lab, University of Birmingham, University of Southampton, University College London, University of Surrey, University of Edinburgh, Heriot Watt University, Loughborough University and Cranfield University. In addition, Dr Mouzakitis has featured as an external examiner for Masters and Doctoral level awards.

Professor Paul Jennings, Pro Dean (Research) at WMG, University of Warwick, has been collaborating with Dr Mouzakitis since 2006, and also mentored the newly-appointed Industrial Professor as part of his EngD. Commenting on the appointment, Professor Jennings said:

“This Industrial Professorship is recognition of Dr Mouzakitis’ significant achievements across systems engineering within industry. The award also acknowledges impressive academic contributions as a mark of quality and rigour across research and education.

“We will now further tap into Dr Mouzakitis’ extensive knowledge, experience and insights in the industry, and work together to ensure that our research and education programmes continue to be leading edge and are tuned to the requirements of a fast-changing industry as we move to electrified, connected and automated mobility.”

Dr Mouzakitis will be delivering his inaugural lecture as Industrial Professor of Automotive Systems at WMG, University of Warwick later this year.

Find out more about Dr Mouzakitis here.

ENDS

WMG, University of Warwick

WMG is a world leading research and education group, transforming organisations and driving innovation through a unique combination of collaborative research and development, and pioneering education programmes.

As an international role model for successful partnerships between academia and the private and public sectors, WMG develops advancements nationally and globally, in applied science, technology and engineering, to deliver real impact to economic growth, society and the environment.

WMG’s education programmes focus on lifelong learning of the brightest talent, from the WMG Academies for Young Engineers, degree apprenticeships, undergraduate and postgraduate, through to professional programmes.

An academic department of the University of Warwick, and a centre for the HVM Catapult, WMG was founded by the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 to help reinvigorate UK manufacturing and improve competitiveness through innovation and skills development.

Wed 20 Jul 2022, 12:36 | Tags: Education Partnerships Research Our People

Young engineers hit the headlines with Design & Make triumph

Three schools from the Black Country and Warwickshire have been crowned as the main winners at one of the biggest independent manufacturing-education events in the UK.

Ernesford Grange Community Academy, Great Wyrley Academy and WMG Academy for Young Engineers Coventry beat off competition from five other rivals to take the Manufacturing,Image of WMG Academy Design and Make Challenge winners Innovation and Efficiency titles respectively at the Design & Make Challenge 2022.

The trio were joined on the podium by Alcester Grammar School, who claimed the first ever ‘Communications’ prize for its use of social media in promoting the day.

Organised by the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), more than 35 students swapped their daily lessons for the chance to test out their design, engineering, prototyping and communication skills at the all-day event held at WMG Academy for Young Engineers in Solihull.

Teams of four Year 11 and Year 12 pupils were set the challenge of using basic materials and tools to make a vehicle that could be propelled by a falling weight. They tested their devices, modified them and then raced them on a purpose-built 7.5m long track to see which one would complete the distance in the fastest possible time – a race that WMG Academy Coventry won in just 3.64 seconds.

“Now, more than ever, we need young people to choose engineering and manufacturing as a career and we’re not going to change perceptions by sitting on our hands, doing nothing,” explained Austin Owens, founder of Grove Design (Pembridge) Ltd and Co-Chair of the Manufacturing Assembly Network.

“This was a comeback for the Design & Make Challenge after a Covid-19 enforced break and we were delighted to see the appetite to take part was still there. I have to say the task was the hardest yet and the young people really embraced it.”

He went on to add: “The atmosphere in the room was amazing and I’m convinced we’ve seen some of the engineers of the future here, engineers that will go on and improve the way we live for the better.”

Ernesford Grange Community Academy, Great Wyrley Academy and WMG Academy Coventry all received a 3D printer for their efforts.

This latest technology was kindly donated by 3DPRINTUK, who are specialists in low volume production using state-of-the-art powder bed fusion 3D printing systems with polymer materials.

Nick Allen, Managing Director of 3DPRINTUK, commented: “We are both proud and delighted to sponsor the Design & Make Challenge 2022.

“The competition is a great fit for us. By donating 3D printers to the winners, it allows the next generation of engineers and manufacturers to learn in a hands-on way about the advantages - and disadvantages - of 3D printing for any given application. It’s something we are passionate about both now and for the future.”

Joining Alcester Grammar School, Ernesford Grange Community Academy, Great Wyrley Academy and WMG Academy Coventry at the Design & Make day were Gospel Oak School, Lawrence Sheriff School, Southam College and WMG Academy Solihull.

Peter Davies, Chief Executive of James Lister & Sons and Co-Chair of the Manufacturing Assembly Network, added his support: “The day is all about bringing sound design and engineering principles to the fore to solve a topical industrial issue, with young people encouraged to work together to develop innovative designs and then build a product they can test against their peers.

“Apprentices from MAN companies and graduates from WMG at the University of Warwick, were working with the groups and talking about their own experiences following a career in manufacturing and some of the skills they may need to realise their ambition.

“All the feedback we received was positive, which excites us about doing it again next year. We now urge other manufacturers to look at how they can play a role in helping promote our sector to young people.”

Image of Design and Make Challenge in actionDr Mark Swift, Head of SME Programmes at WMG at the University of Warwick, concluded: “Design & Make is a wonderful example of how to inspire future engineers - making it real and helping to bridge the skills gap, particularly in small manufacturing and engineering businesses.

“SMEs are the lifeblood of manufacturing in the UK, and they offer a wonderful, rich, challenging and rewarding destination for the next generation of engineers. They get access to all parts of the business, from working with customers and suppliers to the management team and gaining experience on the shop floor – all of this will accelerate their future career.”

About the Manufacturing Assembly Network

Formed in 2006, The Manufacturing Assembly Network is made up of Alucast, Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, Grove Design, James Lister & Sons, KimberMills International, Muller Holdings, Nemco and PP Control & Automation.

The eight sub-contract manufacturers and specialist engineering design agency form a unique global collective that works together to share best practice and secure contracts for UK industry.

It is the third year that the group has held the Design & Make Challenge and earlier competitions have resulted in 352 hours of hands-on manufacturing experience for young people, seven MAN company visits completed by schools and over £25,000 of press coverage to raise the profile of the sector.

More details on MAN can be found at www.man-group.co.uk or follow MAN Group on LinkedIn.

Mon 18 Jul 2022, 15:17 | Tags: HVM Catapult WMG Academy Partnerships

New programme launches in Westminster which aims to put the UK at the forefront of hydrogen innovation

An initiative which is designed to support and foster the creation of a new hydrogen economy in the Midlands has been formally launched at the House of Lords, to an audience of MPs, peers, businesses, academics and senior civil servants.

HyDEX’ brings together the university partners in the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), including WMG at the University of Warwick, with multinational businesses, SMEs and other partners, in order to accelerate innovation in hydrogen, build markets and the supply chain, and support the skills needed for the new hydrogen economy.

The aim of HyDEX is to address the challenge of building a thriving new business, industrial and manufacturing sector in hydrogen, where very little currently exists. The programme allows businesses to accelerate the development and viability of new hydrogen products and associated intellectual property, while supporting the transition from declining industrial sectors and enabling the training and re-skilling required.

The £4.99 million, three-year programme, funded via the RED Fund scheme and run by Research England (part of UK Research and Innovation - UKRI), will see the ERA university partners making available their £111m worth of hydrogen facilities, large scale demonstration programmes, and research capabilities to regional businesses.

HyDEX is being supported by the expertise of leading industrial partners in transport, heating and manufacturing technologies, these include Worcester-Bosch and Cadent (hydrogen boilers and gas networks); Intelligent Energy (fuel cells); Toyota (hydrogen vehicles); FAUN Zoeller (heavy vehicles); Cenex, EQUANS (Hydrogen Networks); Progressive Energy, ITM Motive (hydrogen generation and transport respectively); Siemens and ENGIE (hydrogen production and storage).

The universities involved in the programme include Keele (project lead), Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. Civic partners such as the Midlands Engine, LEPs, local government and local authorities, will also add their weight to support the creation of a market for low-carbon hydrogen solutions as part of the net-zero transition.

There is also an international dimension to HyDEX, which is facilitating links with growing international markets in countries such as China, Australia and South Korea, where ERA partners have strong connections, in order to build commercial opportunities that reach beyond the Midlands and the UK.

The event at the House of Lords on Wednesday 15th June included presentations from Lord Teverson, Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, Professor Martin Freer Director of the Energy Research Accelerator, and Dennis Hayter, Vice-President of Intelligent Energy.

Speaking about HyDEX, Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, which is leading the programme, said: “We are very excited to be launching the HyDEX programme and leading it from Keele University. At Keele we have been leading the way in researching the use of hydrogen in the domestic gas heating system and in smart energy systems.

“This experience and expertise, when combined with the wealth of knowledge in the ERA partnership and our collaborators will enable HyDEX to make a significant impact on the use of hydrogen in the future.”

Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Energy Research Accelerator, added: “The ERA universities have invested significantly in hydrogen infrastructure, creating an array of great facilities and demonstration projects. The HyDEX programme will see experts from our universities, working with Midlands’ businesses to use these facilities to develop new, innovative products.”

Dr Sharon George of Keele University, Principal Investigator for HyDEX, commented: “I am looking forward to leading the HyDEX programme. It will be a great challenge - we are seeking to support the building of a hydrogen economy where one currently doesn’t exist. I am confident that with our academic, industrial and public sector partners, we will be able to demonstrate the commercial potential of hydrogen technologies, support businesses to create products, and build the skills base needed to support the transition to hydrogen.

Image of Professor Alok ChoudharyAlok Choudhary, Professor of Supply Chain Management and Head of Supply Chain Research Group, at WMG, University of Warwick said, “We are thrilled to be working with the HyDEX group of Midlands universities, businesses, and international partners. At WMG, our work stream will focus on establishing and strengthening the supply chain of hydrogen production, developing business models, and ensuring its sustainability for transitioning to the hydrogen economy in specific sectors. The UK government's Hydrogen Strategy is a significant step in the low carbon hydrogen development and is central to the UK's net zero strategy."

Dennis Hayter, Vice President of Intelligent Energy, said: “For Intelligent Energy and the other business partners involved in the programme, HyDEX provides a unique opportunity for us to develop and test our technologies and prove the worth of hydrogen as a crucial green energy source for the UK and world, as we transition to a net-zero society.”

More details about HyDEX can be found at: http://www.hydex.ac.uk/

ENDS

For more information about this press release, please contact Nick King, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Energy Research Accelerator on 07974 690632 or email mailto:nick.king@era.ac.uk

About the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)

ERA consists of the partner universities of Midlands Innovation (Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick), and also the British Geological Survey (BGS). ERA aims to harness the Midlands’ combined research excellence and industry expertise to play a critical role in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the UK. Via Innovate UK, the government committed an initial capital investment of £60m, and ERA has secured additional co-investment of £120m. This has been invested in 23 state of the art facilities which are being used by university and industrial researchers to develop new energy innovations.

Wed 13 Jul 2022, 11:53 | Tags: Supply Chains Partnerships Research

Specialist electric motorcycle project hailed a great success

Image of Triumph TE-1 projectToday (Tuesday 12th July 2022), marks the official completion of the Triumph TE-1 electric development project, a unique four-way partnership between WMG at the University of Warwick, Triumph Motorcycles, Williams Advanced Engineering and Integral Powertrain Ltd e-Drive Division.

The TE-1 project was funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles through Innovate UK, and was set up to create ground-breaking developments in specialist electric motorcycle engineering and innovative integrated technology design. The project provides an input into Triumph’s future electric motorcycle offering, driving innovation, new standards, capability, and new intellectual property, whilst enhancing the credibility and profile of British industry and design.

Driving lower environmental impact transportation, and delivering against the UK’s focus on reducing emissions, the project also aimed to develop strong, commercially viable and sustainable partnerships with UK industry manufacturers and supply chains, whilst building expertise and capability within the UK workforce.

Nick Bloor, CEO, Triumph Motorcycles, said: “We are incredibly proud to be able to share such positive outcomes from the completion of Project Triumph TE‑1, where the prototype demonstrator has exceeded many of our initial targets and expectations. Everyone on the team is thrilled with the results we have achieved with our partners, and how the outcomes of the project will feed into the electric future to come from Triumph.”

Released today, the final testing results show how the TE-1 prototype has delivered on all targets and objectives following an extensive live testing programme which involved numerous assessments of the bike’s performance on a rolling road as well as on track.

WMG’s role in the project was to provide electrification expertise, and the critical vision to drive innovation from R&D to commercial impact, through modelling and simulation based on future market needs.

Highlights from the testing results include a standing start acceleration of 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds, peak power of 130kW (177PS / 175bhp) as well as peak torque of 109Nm (80 lb-ft), aImage of Triumph TE-1 20-minute charge time (0-80%) and a 161km / 100-mile range based on official testing and projections. At 220kg (485 lb), the TE-1 prototype is also lighter than the equivalent electric bikes available currently by up to 25%.

Professor David Greenwood, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at WMG, University of Warwick, explained: “To meet our ambitious emission reduction targets in the UK we will have to rethink the way we travel, not only transitioning from ICE to electric propulsion vehicles, but also encouraging a modal shift away from private cars. Electric two wheelers have a pivotal role to play in the transport revolution as a zero-tailpipe emission option.

“In our partnership with Triumph, WMG used our research experience in electrification to demonstrate manufacturers can deliver products with a lower emission burden as well as outstanding performance-offering customers an EV that is great fun to ride.”

Read more about WMG’s Transport Electrification research here: Energy (warwick.ac.uk)


UK closer to net-zero steel thanks to new WMG and Tata Steel partnership

More sustainable, low-carbon steel and electric vehicle batteries are the target of a new two-year technology development programme between WMG at theImage shows the use of the ETMT machine for high temperature mechanical property assessment University of Warwick and Tata Steel, as part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

The two major partners will come together to focus on developing new environmentally-friendly steel grades, coatings, films, and battery structures – enabling the growth of steel application across key industrial sectors as the UK advances towards a net-zero future.

This partnership builds on the long-standing relationship between both parties and will see them collaborate to make steel cleaner, greener and more responsive to the fast-changing needs of customers across a variety of sectors.

Researchers, led by Professor Claire Davis, at WMG, University of Warwick, will be working alongside experts at Tata Steel in the UK to translate and apply outputs from the early-stage research across key UK manufacturing priority areas including advanced materials and light-weighting, electrified propulsion system applications, digital manufacturing and net-zero manufacturing including circular supply chains.

The initial research activity will be focused across five core themes: Product metallurgy; Surface state optimisation; Non-metallic coatings; Future material applications and Material forming/joining and associated characterisation.

Professor David Greenwood, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at WMG, University of Warwick, explained, “WMG has worked with Tata SteelImage of hot rolling of laboratory cast steel sample on projects for many years, and this partnership will see the collaboration grow across key research themes, including decarbonising the supply chain and enabling future applications of steel across zero carbon propulsion systems and transport vehicles. This activity will include identifying new collaborative relationships and developing world-class technology for the future of the UK steel industry.”

Dr. Sumitesh Das, Director of R&D, Tata Steel, explained: “This is a critical partnership for us to help support new product development with low carbon footprints across various market segments. It also strengthens our ongoing work including building technology capability and expertise in the UK in manufacturing.”

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

Press Contacts:

Simmie Korotane. Media Relations, University of Warwick, Email: mailto: Simmie.korotane@warwick.ac.uk

Tim Rutter, Head of Public Relations, Tata Steel UK, M: +44 (0)7850 990755, E: mailto: tim.rutter@tatasteeleurope.com

Tue 28 Jun 2022, 14:41 | Tags: HVM Catapult Steels Processing Partnerships Research

Battery tech pioneer Britishvolt strengthens partnership with WMG, University of Warwick, to ramp up UK electric vehicle battery production

  • The multi-million-pound [£] project with WMG, University of Warwick, is pioneering battery technology in the UK
  • Research from WMG, University of Warwick, will help Britishvolt to ramp up the availability of batteries for electric vehicles, and other applications, in the UK and beyond
  • The project is accelerating Britishvolt’s business plan to deliver a 38GWh battery Gigaplant, one of the largest industrial investments ever undertaken in the UK
  • Britishvolt recently announced exciting plans for a scale-up production centre in the epicentre of the automotive industry located at Hams Hall, West Midlands, creating what it calls a “Battery Corridor” – linking the Northumberland site with the UK’s automotive heartland
  • The Gigaplant will build enough cells each year for well over 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs, equivalent to [c]25% of current UK vehicle manufacture, securing Global Britain’s position on the sustainable battery production map

WMG has partnered with leading sustainable, low-carbon battery manufacturer, Britishvolt on a two-year multi-million-pound project which is pioneeringImage shows BritishVolt from aerial viewpoint battery technology in the UK.

More batteries for electric vehicles will become available in the UK thanks to research from WMG, at the University of Warwick and its partnership with battery tech pioneer Britishvolt.

The project is helping Britishvolt to deliver a 38GWh battery Gigaplant, one of the largest industrial investments ever undertaken in the UK. The facility, located in the North-East of England, will quickly increase the availability of batteries required at commercial scale for the electric vehicle market – playing a key role in helping the UK reach its carbon net zero target by 2050.

Following an initial 12-month project, Britishvolt and WMG are now embarking on a two-year programme of work. WMG’s research will assist with battery cell development and optimisation including small-scale manufacturing to produce battery electrodes and cells using Britishvolt target materials sets, formulations and cell designs. These will then be tested according to Britishvolt’s agreed protocols.

Professor Dave Greenwood, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at WMG commented: “WMG is delighted to be supporting Britishvolt as they set up large scale battery manufacturing and research facilities in the UK. This industry will be critical for the future of the UK automotive and energy sectors. WMG has been investing over the last decade in the research and development capabilities needed to help Britishvolt and other battery companies to be internationally competitive now and in the future”

BritishVolt strengthens partnership with WMGDr Allan Paterson, Chief Technical Officer, Britishvolt, concluded: “Britishvolt are delighted to extend and expand our relationship and programme of work with WMG. The battery science, advanced materials and cell prototyping expertise and capability at WMG has directly, and positively, supported our battery technology development programme. This gives us not only an excellent basis to progress from, as we seek to scale and commercialise our technologies, but the relationship also enables Britishvolt to continue to develop our products further, as we continually strive to deliver best-in-class, market-leading, cell technologies to our customers.”

Britishvolt: Power with Purpose

The Northumberland Gigaplant – Britishvolt’s first large, full-cycle Gigaplant in the UK - will have a total capacity of over 38 Gigawatt Hours by the end of the decade and will produce enough cells far in excess of 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per year, intended primarily for use in the automotive industry. The development is a major boost for Northumberland, and the UK, delivering around 3,000 direct skilled jobs and another 5,000-plus in the associated supply chains.

Britishvolt’s collaborations with academia, industry and private enterprise will also help transition the UK from fossil fuels to a low carbon, battery-based electric future.

The release of an official A-sample battery cell to customers, which is scheduled later in 2022, will help to further accelerate commitments.

Britishvolt recently announced that it will develop its UK battery cell scale-up facility in the West Midlands, home to the internationally renowned battery ecosystem With a budget exceeding £200m, the plan looks to create upwards of 150 highly skilled, well-paid jobs; unifying the Britishvolt Northumberland Gigaplant with a centrally located scale-up/technology hub

The Hams Hall site will spearhead new cell formats and electro chemistries to create higher performance, production ready, batteries of the future whilst helping lower cell costs for more affordable EVs, aiding mass adoption

Britishvolt is one of the fastest growing battery technology companies in Europe and globally. The company is also in discussions with the Canadian Government regarding its expansion plans in the country.

Watch Britishvolt’s Battery Research video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UlDcUjMhiE


WMG supports Norton Motorcycles as they announce plan to build electric motorcycles in the UK

WMG, at the University of Warwick, is supporting Norton Motorcycles in its intention to begin developing electric motorcycles in the UK after winning significant investmentImage of Norton Motorcycles HQ through a government scheme.

The iconic British motorcycle brand has been awarded funding by Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) 19, an initiative which aims to assist businesses in the automotive sector in advancing their low-carbon offering while helping to accelerate the UK towards a net-zero automotive future, a future that Norton fully embraces.

As demand for electric motorcycles and micro-mobility solutions grow, the project, Zero Emission Norton, will expand Norton’s ever-growing electric vehicle engineering capabilities and develop world class electric motorcycles.

To deliver this ambitious project, Norton will work with specialist project partners who have the same vision for innovation in production of world-class electric motorcycles. The team encompasses Delta Cosworth, HiSpeed Limited, Formaplex Technologies, M&I Materials, INDRA and academic partner WMG at the University of Warwick.

Each partner on the project will have a specialist part to play in project Zero Emission Norton. Delta Cosworth will design the battery pack, while HiSpeed Limited bring motor design and manufacturing skills. Formaplex Technologies have expertise in precision composites manufacturing and M&I Materials will support on applications of dielectric cooling oils. INDRA specialise in vehicle to home charging technology and WMG major on battery technology, modelling and toolchain development.

Norton will work alongside these partners to develop world-class technology and products that will enhance the UK supply chain for all the critical components in electric vehicle (EV) technology including batteries, motors, chassis, cooling oils and vehicle to home chargers.

As a result, the 30-month project is expected to create a significant number of jobs in the UK in manufacturing and R&D as well as upskilling existing staff to be capable of electric motorcycle engineering. This in turn will help address the UK skills shortfall in that space while returning the UK to the position it last enjoyed in the 60’s, as the global technology leader for motorcycles.

Andrew McGordon, Reader, Energy Applications Group at WMG, University of Warwick, said: “WMG is excited to be a partner in this project exploiting our research in battery and systems modelling to develop a zero-prototype modelling and validation methodology, including predictive smart charging and Vehicle to Grid technology. We will bring extensive electrification experience to this project having worked across many sectors already.”

Robert Hentschel, CEO Norton Motorcycles commented: “This significant funding investment is a momentous milestone for the brand as it marks the beginning of our electrification journey and fulfilling our ten-year product plan.Norton is an exemplar of modern luxury and unafraid to challenge the status quo, innovating for the future of mobility while staying true to our British heritage. It also brings into focus our desire to support the UK in its mission for a net-zero automotive future.

“Working alongside our world class partners, we’re confident that project Zero Emission Norton will eliminate the current dispute between a conventional and electric motorcycle to create EV products that riders desire – motorcycles that blends Norton’s uncompromising design DNA with racing performance, touring range and lightweight handling.”

Ian Constance, Chief Executive of the APC said: "The projects receiving today’s investment highlight the breadth of technologies needed to help the UK accelerate to net zero emissions. They’re reimagining not just vehicles, but transport in general.

"Norton are an iconic British brand with a proud history. From making motorcycles to support the second world war effort to developing the world’s first production superbike, they are now looking to the future with an electric bike that will deliver both performance and range radiating from a UK manufacturing base and strengthening highly-skilled jobs and green growth."

Ends

 

For any enquiries, please contact Stephanie Staff at Performance Communications on

07798 897 692 or email norton@performancecomms.com

Website: www.nortonmotorcycles.com


Carbon, cost and battery conditioning benefits calculated for vehicle-to-grid chargepoints

Vehicle-to-grid chargepoints can improve battery life in electric vehicles and reduce carbon emissions and costs of charging, a government-funded project has found.

Research from the EV-elocity project shows that, by careful charging and discharging, EV battery degradation can reduce by one-eighth, and, in somePicture of charge points situations, up to 450 kg of emitted carbon dioxide (CO2) or £400 could be saved per vehicle each year.

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) can balance the calendar and cycling aging (both of which affect the rate of battery degradation) to optimise the battery condition and improve its health by 8.6 – 12.3% over one-year’s operation, compared to conventional charging alone - equivalent to one extra year of use.

In cost-terms, V2G tariff optimisation can save around £100 per year per charge point on normal business electricity tariffs, with up to £400 saved on a smarter tariff.

If managed to maximise the environmental benefit, nearly half a tonne of annual CO2 emissions can be saved, and significant savings (over 180 kg) can be made even when reducing cost is the main goal.

Chris Rimmer, Infrastructure Strategy lead at Cenex and the project’s lead project manager, said: “Our conclusions show that it is not necessary to trade-off financial, environmental and asset lifetimes when charging Electric Vehicles. Cost, carbon, and conditioning benefits can all be gained when V2G is used intelligently with fleet vehicles.”

Professor Lucelia Rodrigues of the University of Nottingham added “a key challenge for an optimum application of V2G technology is to synchronize the needs and requirements of the users and the energy and transport systems. Our work correlated variables such as user needs, mobility patterns and renewable electricity generation to evolve different possible scenarios for the application of V2G chargers, with a view of maximizing local renewable energy consumption, lowering costs for the user, improving battery life and reducing carbon emissions from the whole system.”

“Our experimental research highlighted the potential to extend battery life by exploiting the unique capability of V2G chargers to both charge and discharge the vehicle battery”, commented Professor James Marco of WMG, University of Warwick. “By careful optimisation of this process and knowing how the battery performance may degrade over time, it is possible to condition the battery to extend its life in a number if situations when compared to conventional methods of vehicle charging.”

The EV-elocity Project was funded by Innovate UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles between September 2018 and January 2022; it was led by Cenex and comprised CrowdCharge, Leeds City Council, Nottingham City Council, University of Nottingham and University of Warwick in a second phase from January 2020.

The project deployed 15 chargepoints across nine sites - including West Midlands Police, Leeds City Council and the University of Nottingham Creative Energy Homes campus. Two of charger from eNovates and Nichicon were managed by a technology-agnostic operating system, demonstrating V2G across the different trial sites within the UK.

The final report presents the findings and lessons learned for future vehicle-to-grid deployment.

Ends

Notes to editors:

The EV-elocity project is part of the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) competition, funded by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), in partnership with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

In January 2018, OLEV and BEIS announced that 21 projects (8 feasibility studies, 5 collaborative research and development projects, and 8 real-world v2g trial projects) were to receive funding of £30m to develop the business proposition and the core technology to support Vehicle 2 Grid deployment in the UK, including its demonstration with large scale trials.

The projects involve more than 50 industrial partners and research organisations from both the Energy and Automotive sector, marking the largest and most diverse activities on V2G in the world, and trialling more than 1,000 vehicles and V2G charger units across UK.

The V2G projects represent a significant step towards the transition to a low carbon transportation and a smart energy system. Allowing EVs to return energy to the Power Grid when parked and plugged for charging, will increase Grid resilience, allow for better exploitation of renewable sources and lower the cost of ownership for EV owners, leading to new business opportunities and clear advantages for EV users and energy consumers.


Researchers develop technology solutions to enhance the safety and efficiency of connected and autonomous vehicles in complex road junctions

Researchers at WMG, University of Warwick have developed technology solutions for safer and more efficient automated driving when navigating complex road junctions such as roundabouts.

Group picture of researchers who developed technology solutions to enhance the safety and efficiency of connected and autonomous vehicles in complex road junctionsWorking in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, TRL and the University of Surrey, researchers from the Intelligent Vehicles directorate at WMG, University of Warwick have implemented a Proof of Concept demonstrator. This demonstrator focusses on unleashing the power of Edge and Cloud Computing, using a “connected roundabout” at the University of Warwick’s main campus.

The Cloud Assisted Real-time Methods for Autonomy (CARMA) project, is part of the £11m TASCC programme funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Jaguar Land Rover. Supported by WMG’s Centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the CARMA project was established with the intention to create secure and resilient cloud-based platforms to enable safe and robust semi-autonomous functions on future cars in the short term, and with the vision of achieving fully autonomous vehicles.

Professor Mehrdad Dianati, Head of Intelligent Vehicles Research at WMG, University of Warwick said: “We expect autonomous vehicles to be much safer, much more efficient and much more comfortable than human driven vehicles. Unfortunately, with existing sensor and computing technologies, it is difficult and expensive to achieve the level of accuracy and reliability of the perception of the environment that’s expected.”

“CARMA not only demonstrates how these concepts could be implemented in practice, but also highlights what the impact of such technologies might be. This research will help manufacturers, technology developers, policy makers and road operators to make informed decisions on how they will adopt technologies in future road infrastructure, regulations, products and services.”

CARMA researchers installed eight infrastructure cameras, as off-board sensors, at the roundabout to monitor the environment and stream video to a base station called ‘Edge’. Using two-way communication, the Edge processes its own live information with information received from nearby connected vehicles. This processed data containing object, traffic, road layout and lane availability information is broadcast and received by the vehicles.

Dr Graham Lee, Principal Engineer at WMG, University of Warwick, added: “At complex road junctions, the CARMA platform can help enable on-road autonomy by providing additional real time data about the environment through the use of off-board sensors and computing. This gives vehicles the ability to navigate complex road junctions safely and efficiently.”

Dr Saber Fallah, Director of the Connected Autonomous Research Lab at the University of Surrey commented: “This technology enables new business models for the transportation system in alignment with the rise of shared mobility. In addition, autonomous vehicle technology also highlights the potential for how elderly people or disabled people can benefit from the joy of driving from point A to point B safely.”

The testing infrastructure was supported by the Midlands Future Mobility project, Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles of the UK Government. The Open Innovation Platform research vehicle used within the project was developed with support from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and used alongside the CARMA research vehicle provided by JLR.

Over ten follow-on projects have been inspired by CARMA, as technological, regulatory and business challenges are to be overcome before the concept can be deployed on a mass scale. Through the project 23 early career scientists and engineers were trained and three patents were granted along with 40 publications on the work carried out.


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