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6 February, 2018 - 22:34 By Kate Sweeney

Cambridge wins £11.9 million for advanced electric vehicle battery tech power play

Cambridge University has clinched £11.9 million as part of a £42m UK push to drive a revolution in electric vehicles by enhancing battery technology. Funding for four projects was announced by the Faraday Institution – the UK’s independent national battery research institute.

Led by Professor Clare Grey from the Department of Chemistry, the Cambridge-led project will examine how environmental and internal battery stresses (such as high temperatures, charging and discharging rates) damage electric vehicle (EV) batteries over time. 

Results will include the optimisation of battery materials and cells to extend battery life (and hence EV range), reduce battery costs, and enhance battery safety.

The research has the potential to radically increase the advance to electric vehicles as well as the speed with which the sector can decarbonise energy supply, with obvious benefits to the environment.

Business Minister Richard Harrington said: “With 200,000 electric vehicles set to be on UK roads by the end of 2018 and worldwide sales growing by 45 per cent in 2016, investment in car batteries is a massive opportunity for Britain and one that is estimated to be worth £5 billion by 2025.

“Government investment, through the Faraday Institution, in the projects announced today will deliver valuable research that will help us seize the economic opportunities presented by battery technology and our transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Peter B. Littlewood, founding executive chair of the Faraday Institution, added: “To deliver the much-needed improvement in air quality in our cities and achieve our aspiration for cleaner energy targets we need to shift to electric vehicles quickly. 

“These research programmes will help the UK achieve this. To be impactful on increasing energy density, lowering cost, extending lifetime, and improving battery safety requires a substantial and focused effort in fundamental research. 

“Through steady investment in basic research on specific societal challenges identified by industry and government, the UK will become a world-leading powerhouse in energy storage.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Peter B. Littlewood

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