Innovate UK launched a £5.4m, three-year project called Project Quantum to develop cutting-edge battery manufacturing solutions and make the UK a world leader in the field.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are forecast to account for one in five car sales by 2026, which means the demand for its most valuable component – the lithium ion battery – will soon skyrocket. Project Quantum is expected to drive productivity and economic growth in this sector, and support the UK’s transition to electrification. The project will commercialise known quantum technology, to address identified inefficiencies and challenges in the manufacture of lithium cells. Quantum technology enables highly sensitive measurements of magnetic fields to improve quality yields, and effectively grade new batteries – reducing the time taken for the ageing process from weeks to days.
“There is an urgent need for rapid, continuous and non-invasive monitoring of the cell ageing process on the production line. New quantum sensing technology can cut the cost of production and provide additional capability in grading battery quality, meaning more cells can be produced in a shorter space of time,” said Kevin Brundish, CEO of AMTE Power, the British battery manufacturer leading Project Quantum.
Scaleable battery production is forecast to be worth $5bn in five years’ time, and the UKBIC (Battery Industrialisation Centre) facility will soon open to aid the UK’s transition to a world leader in battery development and manufacture, complementing AMTE Power’s ambition to open the country’s first gigafactory – capable of producing millions of cells
onshore every year.
“Making the battery production process both more efficient and greener is a crucial step towards the UK meeting its zero-carbon climate objectives, especially as approximately 50% of vehicle production will be wholly or partially electric by 2030. Aligning with the Government’s Industrial strategy, which outlines its ambitions on EV and battery technologies, the UK should now be building out an independent infrastructure for lithium-ion batteries, in support of firms like AMTE Power’s gigafactory expansion plans,” said Brundish.
Other Project Quantum partners include Compound Semiconductor Centre, Magnetic Shields, Compound Semiconductor Technologies, Alter Technology, Kelvin Nanotechnology, Centre for Process Innovation, CDO2, University of Strathclyde and University of Sussex.