Faraday Challenge to support local economic growth

Briefing event showcases scope of opportunity for businesses operating in energy and automotive manufacturing sectors

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) will host a briefing event in Newcastle on 11th August outlining the scope of the Faraday Challenge competition announced this week by Business Secretary Greg Clark.

Set to revolutionise the way we produce and use energy in the UK, the Faraday Challenge also represents genuine economic opportunity for the North East. Part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), the Faraday Challenge will help companies to design and manufacture next-generation batteries to support the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. It is estimated that 50% of vehicle production by 2030 will be electric or plug-in hybrid electric.

The Faraday Challenge programme will develop safe, cost-effective, durable, lighter weight, high performing and recyclable batteries which will power the next generation of electric vehicles. This will involve businesses with a wide range of materials and manufacturing capabilities from across different sectors, creating a new supply chain to support battery production in the UK at scale.

There is significant strength in high-value manufacturing in the North East, and local business leaders are enthusiastic about the opportunity the Faraday Challenge could bring.

Paul Butler, CEO of North East Automotive Alliance, said: “The automotive sector is undergoing a significant technology revolution, and in order to continue to compete globally, we must build our strengths in these new technologies.

“The North East already has significant strength in these new technology areas. Nissan Sunderland produces 26% of all electric vehicles in Europe, and Nissan’s battery facility is world leading; while Newcastle University is working with Nissan on their ongoing trial of vehicle-to-grid EV charging stations, which could save circa £2.4 billion in electricity costs by 2030. The launch of the Faraday Challenge will no doubt provide significant opportunities for the North East region.”

In April 2017, Mr Clark announced the commitment of over £1bn over 4 years in Research and Development via the ISCF. £246 million has been allocated to a series of programmes in the Faraday Challenge. UK businesses and research organisations can now apply for a share of the first £45 million of those funds.

Phil Taylor, Siemens Professor of Energy Systems at Newcastle University and Non-executive Director of Northern Powergrid, said: “The North East of England has a huge amount to offer and benefit from this automotive and energy system revolution. The potential breakthroughs in this area open up the possibility for people to see their car as much more than just a means of getting from A to B – it will allow families to become active participants in a future energy system which is low carbon, secure, equitable and affordable for all. The Faraday Challenge provides the basis for the UK academic and industrial sector to provide meaningful societal benefits which will be realised and experienced for many years to come.”

The briefing event, which also covers the scope for an Innovate UK Feasibility Study and Research & Development batteries competition, will benefit entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers who can expand their work in the areas of battery chemistry, raw materials, materials processing, cell components, cell, module and pack assembly and vehicle integration, cell production methods, and any aspect of the future electric vehicle battery supply chain.

Interested delegates can register here.