The UK government has launched the "Faraday Challenge", which will invest £246m in boosting the country's expertise in developing battery technology.

Running over four years, the first phase of the programme will include a competition to develop a £45m "Battery Institute" that will provide a framework for battery research and development. The institute will be a consortium of universities that will be selected by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which provides government funding for research in the UK.

Promising research done by the Battery Institute and elsewhere in the UK will be moved towards commercialization through collaborations between academia and industry. This process will be facilitated by Innovate UK, which is a government body that provides funding to companies for the development of new products and services based on science and technology.

Manufacturing development

The Faraday Challenge will also fund a new National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility for the UK. A competition for hosting the facility will be led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which is an industry-led private company that seeks to develop technologies that can be used in low-carbon-emission transportation systems.

The Faraday Challenge was announced by business secretary Greg Clark, who has appointed Richard Parry-Jones to chair the Faraday Challenge Advisory Board. Parry-Jones spent much of his career working for the Ford Motor Company, where he held several senior positions before retiring a decade ago to work as an adviser to governments and industry.

Parry-Jones says: "The power of the Faraday Challenge derives from the joining-up of all three stages of research from the brilliant research in the university base, through innovation in commercial applications to scaling up for production." He adds: "It will focus our best minds on the critical industrial challenges that are needed to establish the UK as one of the world leaders in advanced battery technologies and associated manufacturing capability."