Co-funded by Government (£9 million) and industry (£4 million), the £13 million centre will be created to capitalise on the growing electric and hybrid vehicle battery market, which has been estimated to be worth £250 million for the UK by 2020.
The centre is the latest move by Government to secure future growth opportunities for the UK’s automotive sector, building on its £400m commitment over the next four years to supporting electric cars and other ultra-low carbon vehicles.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG, said: “We are delighted by the creation of the new UK Energy Storage R&D Centre at WMG.
“This collaborative centre will enable the automotive sector to continue to be a global leader in low carbon vehicle manufacturing.
“We will be working closely with industry and other universities on joint research projects that will have real impact for these companies as well as the sector as a whole.”
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “I’m pleased to announce this joint Government and industry project to develop an energy storage R&D centre at the University of Warwick. It will put the UK in a much stronger, competitive position to capitalise on a growing worldwide market for low carbon vehicles, alongside other world leaders in the field including the United States, Japan and Germany.
“This £13 million facility will help accelerate the development of battery cells for the next generation of vehicles, is a vital investment in the future of the automotive sector. It complements over £5.5 billion that global vehicle manufacturers have committed to UK projects in the last 18 months.”
The Automotive Council Technology Group worked alongside Government to secure the funding for the new R&D centre.
Jerry Hardcastle, Chairman of the Group and Global Chief Marketability Engineer at Nissan Motor Company, said: “The announcement of the UK Energy Storage R&D Centre is great news and is further evidence that collaboration between the Government, industry and academic institutions in the UK continues to create opportunities to increase innovation and further develop the supply chain in the automotive industry.”
David Bott, Director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board said: “The establishment of this centre will help to increase the global competitiveness of the UK’s emerging Low Carbon Vehicle’s industry.
“By locating the centre within the new High Value Manufacturing Catapult, it will be possible to draw on capabilities that have already been developed in energy storage and help to speed up the commercialisation of new products. The benefits that this centre brings will also spill over into wider markets.”
To be based within the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult at the University of Warwick, the centre will build on the UK’s world class research base in electrochemistry. It will focus on the development of a new generation of high performance batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles designed to be more economic and stable, yet boast higher energy density levels than those currently available on the market.
The centre will focus on the immediate priority of batteries for the low and ultra low carbon vehicles, but it will have the potential to extend to storage for other transport applications including commercial and off-road vehicles, rail and marine, and to other technologies such as fuel cells.
Notes to editors:
- The HVM Catapult provides an integrated capability and embraces all forms of manufacture using metals and composites, in addition to process manufacturing technologies and bio-processing.
- Having opened its doors for business in October 2011, it draws on excellent university research to accelerate the commercialisation of new and emerging manufacturing technologies.
- Seven partners are working together in the High Value Manufacturing Catapult centre. They bring together their expertise in different and complementary areas of high value manufacturing.
- The seven partners are: Advanced Forming Research Centre (University of Strathclyde), Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (University of Sheffield), Centre for Process Innovation (Wilton & Sedgefield), Manufacturing Technology Centre (Coventry), National Composites Centre (University of Bristol), Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (University of Manchester and Sheffield) and Warwick Manufacturing Group (University of Warwick).
2. Automotive Council
- The United Kingdom Automotive Council was established in December 2009. Its establishment was a key recommendation of the industry led New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT) which reported in May of that year.
- The Automotive Council aims to:
o Create a transformed business environment for the automotive industry in the UK to provide a more compelling investment proposition for related industries.
o Develop further the technology roadmaps for low carbon vehicles and fuels, and exploit opportunities to promote the UK as a strong candidate to develop these and other technologies
o Develop a stronger and more competitive automotive supply chain.
o Provide a stronger public voice for the industry to support the value of the industry to the UK and to global partners.
o Ensure a strategic, continuous conversation between Government and the automotive industry in the UK.
3. Technology Strategy Board
· The role of the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is to stimulate technology-enabled innovation in the areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity.
· The TSB promotes, supports and invests in technology research, development and commercialisation. It also spreads knowledge and brings people together to solve problems or make new advances.
· The TSB advises Government on how to remove barriers to innovation and accelerate the exploitation of new technologies, and works in areas where there is a clear potential business benefit - helping today's emerging technologies become the growth sectors of tomorrow
4. The Government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.’ It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:
· To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
· To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
· To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
· To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.