The launch of a world-leading energy research and electrification facility has taken place at WMG, University of Warwick.
The £20 million investment from ERA, the energy research accelerator will help research new sustainable batteries for an electric future. The project is funded by Innovate UK and drawing on the expertise of many of the Midlands Innovation group of universities – Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick, plus the British Geological Survey.
The £2 million ERA-funded Thermal Laboratories in the School of Engineering has also been launched. These will be used to develop new low carbon heating and cooling technologies.
The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) is a £60 million project funded by Innovate UK. ERA is working with UK government, industry and the higher education sector to undertake innovative research, develop the next generation of energy leaders, and demonstrate low carbon technologies that help shape the future of the UK’s energy landscape.
ERA consists of eight internationally renowned Midlands universities – which includes the University of Warwick, who are part of the Midlands Innovation partnership, together with the British Geological Survey.
They will explore the challenges of energy and electrification, with some of the thought leaders and innovators who are making changes in these areas.
WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre is a world-class facility for battery research from materials and electrochemistry to application integration and recycling/reuse. The £20m ERA investment has enabled new equipment and facilities, which include laboratories, a dry room for cell assembly, characterisation at cell, module and pack levels, innovative charging infrastructure and second-life evaluation facilities. It will drive the development, and scale-up of new battery chemistries from concept through to proven traction batteries.
Professor Pam Thomas, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Warwick, said: The University of Warwick continues to produce innovative research in battery development and thermal energy, the funding means we can help research ways to tackle global challenges in areas such as energy and sustainability to help climate change for the UK’s and the world’s future.”
Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Energy Research Accelerator, added: “Over the coming years we are going to see a step change in the motor industry from the combustion engine to battery powered vehicles. With this investment from ERA and Innovate UK, the Midlands will continue to take the lead in the research, development and commercialisation of new battery technologies.
“Our investment in the thermal labs here at Warwick is also significant, as the new facilities will enable researchers to work together with other ERA universities to develop innovative and efficient low carbon heating and cooling technologies.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This world-leading research facility will further cement the West Midlands’ position at the cutting edge of innovation in technology and sustainability.
“The region is already at the forefront of the development of electric vehicle efficiency, and now the ERA’s funding will enable us to make better use of electrification to reduce emissions and improve transport, making a real difference to the lives of people living and working in the West Midlands.”