Northern Powergrid

Northern Powergrid



  • £65 million battery technology research institute announced
  • Newcastle University to lead pioneering research in collaboration with Northern Powergrid and Siemens

Web-Faraday Challenge Image-PatrickE&ProfPTaylor.jpgBusiness Secretary Greg Clark has announced the universities that will lead pioneering research into the next generation of battery technology.

The flagship Faraday Battery Institute will bring together the best minds from seven founding partner universities and industry to make the UK a global leader in battery research and technology.

Newcastle University, in collaboration with Northern Powergrid and Siemens, is one of the founding institutions, chosen for its world-leading battery research which will help to build the UK’s status as a global leader in battery research and technology.

Announcing this major investment in the UK’s research base Greg Clark said: “Through the Faraday Research Challenge we are cementing our position as the ‘go-to’ destination for battery technology so we can exploit the global transition to a low carbon economy.

“The Faraday Battery Institute will have a critical role in fostering innovative research collaboration between our world-leading universities and world-beating businesses to make this technology more accessible and more affordable.

“We have huge expertise in this area already and the Faraday Battery Institute collaboration between our seven founding universities provides a truly unique opportunity for us to bring together our expertise and an effort in this area behind a common set of strategic goals to ensure the UK exploits the jobs and business opportunities.”

Leading the research at Newcastle University, Professor Phil Taylor, Head of the School of Engineering, said: “This announcement represents a huge boost for battery energy storage in the UK and Newcastle University are delighted to be one of the founding partners.

“Although the institution is focusing on batteries it will also investigate the best way to integrate them into energy systems such as electric vehicles and low carbon grids.

“Here at Newcastle University we will contribute to the institution through our internationally leading battery research spanning everything from fundamental material science, power electronic converters and system integration and working with key partners such as Northern Powergrid and Siemens.”

Patrick Erwin, Director of Policy and Markets at Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the region’s electricity distribution network, said: “We’re looking forward to working with Newcastle University, Siemens and other partners as part of this ground-breaking institution to drive the development of battery technology which offers huge potential to facilitate revolutions in the transport and energy sectors.

“By working in partnership we’ll be able to explore how battery and electric vehicle technology can improve the services we can provide to our 8 million customers in the future and drive forward our work to support the transition to a better, smarter, more resilient, low-carbon energy system that will benefit future generations.” 

The Faraday Battery Institute, with £65 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, is part of government’s £246 million investment in battery technology through the Industrial Strategy.

The universities forming the institute are:

  • Imperial College London
  • Newcastle University
  • University College London
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Warwick

As industry partners, Northern Powergrid and Siemens will use their expertise to help shape the work of the institution and focus on solving real-world problems and developing technology that will translate into better and more sustainable products and services for people in the UK.

EPSRC Chief Executive Professor Philip Nelson said: “Climate change and moving towards low carbon economies mean the demand for clean energy production and effective energy storage, in the UK and globally, is rising.

“The Faraday Institute will bring leading academics in the field of battery development together to explore novel approaches that will meet these challenges and accelerate the development of new products and techniques.”

The Business Secretary confirmed in July that the government would be making an investment of £246 million, over four years, in the Faraday Research Challenge to ensure the UK builds on its strengths and leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.

The Faraday Research Challenge is divided into three streams - research, innovation and scale-up which is designed to drive a step-change in transforming the UK’s world-leading research into market-ready technologies that ensures economic success for the UK.

The Faraday Research Challenge is just one of six areas that the government, together with business and academia, identified through its flagship Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) as being one of the UK’s core industrial challenges and opportunities, where research and innovation can help unlock markets and industries of the future in which the UK can become world-leading.

As part of cementing the UK as a global leader in autonomous and battery vehicles, the government will unveil shortly the winners of its first £55 million Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) testing infrastructure competition.

This follows the government opening its £100 million CAV test bed competition in April, inviting proposals for how to create a cluster of excellence in driverless car testing, along the M40 corridor between Coventry and London, to accelerate the development of this technology, grow intellectual capital and attract overseas investment in the UK.