Newly Founded UK Consortium to Develop SSB Tech

With the aim of accelerating the creation of solid-state battery technology in the UK, seven organisations have founded a consortium.

By Joel Davies -

A UK consortium of seven organisations has signed a memorandum of understanding to combine ambitions to develop “world-leading” prototype solid-state battery (SSB) technology, targeting automotive applications.

The successful outcome of the collaboration would be to harness and industrialise UK academic capability to produce cells using highly scalable manufacturing techniques that leapfrog the cost-effectiveness and performance achieved elsewhere.

The organisations part of the consortium are involved in battery research, development and manufacturing and include:

  • Faraday Institution – the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, which has led the consortium’s formation and will lead its development.
  • Britishvolt – the UK-based Gigaplant developer, with a site in NE England.
  • E+R (Emerson & Renwick) – a designer of manufacturing equipment.
  • Johnson Matthey – a major sustainable technologies company and the UK’s leading battery materials business.
  • Oxford University – that leads the Faraday Institution’s solid-state battery project (SOLBAT) and provides the necessary scientific understanding to the consortium.
  • UK Battery Industrialisation Centre – the battery manufacturing development facility to enable UK battery manufacturing scale-up and facilitate upskilling in the battery sector.
  • WMG, University of Warwick – battery R&D and initial scale-up capability, as well as academic and apprenticeship skills development.

“I am delighted to be able to announce the formation of this unique consortium for the advancement of solid-state battery prototyping that includes leading UK-based organisations at many stages in the value chain”, said Professor Pam Thomas, CEO of Faraday Institution.

“Our leadership in this venture signals a move towards a role that the Faraday Institution will increasingly play as a trusted convener of significant partnerships between UK industry and academia as a route to commercialise breakthrough science emerging from our research programmes to maximise UK economic value”.

Solid-state batteries (SSBs) offer significant potential advantages over existing lithium-ion battery technologies, including the ability to hold more charge for a given volume (leading to increased electric vehicle (EV) range) and reduced costs of safety management.

UK Consortium SSBs
Professor Pam Thomas, CEO of the Faraday Institution. Image: Warwick University.

Early deployment of SSBs is likely to be in consumer electronics, niche automotive applications and unmanned aerospace, before being used in broader EV markets. The Faraday Institution forecasts that, in 2030, SSBs are likely to take a 7% share of the global consumer electronics battery market and a 4% share of the EV battery market. Global SSB revenues from sales to EV manufacturers are expected to reach $8 billion by 2030 and then grow rapidly to 2040 and 2050 when the market is expected to become extensive.

However, there are scientific challenges that need to be addressed before high power SSBs with commercially relevant performance can be realised. The Faraday Institution’s SOLBAT project has made progress in addressing these challenges over the last three years.

The construction of a facility being developed by the collaboration will enable SSB technology to emerge from UK university laboratories. It will allow larger cells to be produced using scalable manufacturing techniques that will be improved iteratively through a deep investigation of the causes of problems that emerge during the manufacture and testing of prototype batteries. This will leverage the collective knowledge of Faraday Institution SSB researchers and industrial partners.

Dr Allan Paterson, Chief Technology Officer, Britishvolt commented, “Solid-state is the holy grail of battery solutions. Solid-state batteries have the potential to increase energy density significantly over battery technology available today and could dramatically, and positively, change the world of electric vehicles.

Britishvolt will be at the forefront of commercialising this step-change over the coming years. This collaboration, which includes major global industry leaders such as Johnson Matthey and academic leadership from the University of Oxford, underscores another key objective in our technology roadmap – homegrown intellectual property”.

You can find more information on the UK consortium that’s been founded to develop SSB technology on any of the above organisations’ websites, including its leader, the Faraday Institution.

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