Solid-state batteries are used in electric cars, and the money is part of the first tranche of a total £246-million investment from the UK government.
The UK announced plans to invest £42 million into research on solid-state batteries for electric cars on Tuesday (January 23).
The funding is part of the first tranche of a total of £246 million the government has pledged to spend on battery technology.
Last October, the government set up an independent national center called the Faraday Institution to lead research that is expected to put the UK at the forefront of battery technology worldwide. The new organization brings together diverse experts in the field.
“[The research into solid-state batteries] has the potential to radically increase the speed with which we are able to make the move to electric vehicles, as well as the speed with which we can decarbonise our energy supply, with obvious benefits to the environment,” the Faraday Institution said on Tuesday.
The government funding will be divided among four projects, which include research into battery life, battery system modelling and battery recycling. The topics were selected in consultation with industry members, who will partner closely with each initiative to ensure the research is successful.
“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,” Business Minister Richard Harrington said.
Solid-state batteries replace a liquid electrolyte with a solid one and use lithium metal at the anode rather than graphite, as is standard in current lithium-ion batteries. Experts believe this type of battery will be safer and more powerful than the lithium-ion batteries now used to power electric cars.
However, producing affordable solid-state batteries by the next decade could be ambitious due to the challenge of achieving a fine balance between numerous performance characteristics.
Even so, analysts have welcomed the move from the UK government, as it will allow the country to step up and compete with Asian countries, which are the current leaders in the electric car space.
“[It is a] good long term move by the UK [as] solid-state is the most promising long term successor to lithium-ion,” Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Managing Director Simon Moores said. “[However, it’s] still some way away.”
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.