A research centre for battery technology has been officially opened at the University of Warwick.
The Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) was opened by by business secretary Sajid Javid this week and is backed by £9 million funding from government and an additional £4 million from the automotive industry.
The EIC includes a £13 million “battery materials scale-up pilot line”, which was initially installed in August 2014. Since then more equipment has been added and several battery research projects started, leading up to the official opening.
The Energy Innovation Centre is part of the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick. The EIC is researching battery technology for the use in electric and hybrid vehicles. By 2020, it is estimated that the electric and hybrid vehicle battery market will be worth £250 million for the UK, said the WMG.
Research is currently focused on developing cheaper, higher energy density, safer batteries but will over time extend to other technologies such as fuel cells, ultra-capacitors and inductive charging.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, WMG chairman, said: “Electric and hybrid vehicles are the future of automotive and WMG is at the forefront of this research. We have a long history of research impact in hybrid, electric and low carbon vehicles which he has been able to see first-hand.”
The EIC’s battery research facilities can develop new battery chemistries from concept to fully proven traction batteries for industrial scale testing. The Centre also includes a battery characterisation laboratory, aggressive testing chambers and an electric and hybrid drives test facility.
Meanwhile, in another boost for the Midlands, a coffee production facility in Staffordshire announced it is to create 425 jobs. The Nestlé site at Tutbury already employs 1,000 workers to produce coffee capsules for domestic espresso machines. Nearly 90% of all the coffee capsules it produces are exported to Brazil, Italy, Mexico and the USA amongst others.
Sajid Javid, said: “The investments made by Nestlé and the Warwick Manufacturing Group are tangible signs of the strength and energy of the Midlands economy.”