Clark promises battery investment to charge up economy

24 Jul 17

The government will invest £246m to make the UK a world leader in electric battery development in a bid to save millions on energy costs and boost productivity.

Speaking in Birmingham today, business secretary, Greg Clark is due to announce the launch of the Faraday Challenge to boost expertise in battery technology.

As part of the four-year project, a £45m Battery Institute will “bring the best minds and facilities together” to establish a centre for battery research to make the technology more accessible and affordable.

Clark is expected to tell delegates at the event, hosted by the Resolution Foundation, that: “Our strategy will create the conditions that boost earning power throughout the country – its people, places and companies.

“If every part of Britain is to prosper in the future we need to ensure that we have the right policies and institutions in place to drive the productivity – which is to say, the earning power – of the economy, and the people and places that make it up.”

Clark is also due to confirm a further £25m for the Connected Autonomous Vehicles research and development schemes, which have already received £100m from the government. 

Ruth McKernan, chief executive of Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency, said: “By any scale, the Faraday Challenge is a game-changing investment in the UK and will make people around the globe take notice of what the UK is doing in terms of battery development for the automotive sector.

“The competitions opening this week present huge opportunities for UK businesses, helping to generate further jobs and growth in the UK’s low carbon economy.”

Philip Nelson, chief executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council said the Faraday Challenge would “bring together the best minds in the field, draw on others from different disciplines, and link intimately with industry, innovators and other funders” to ensure the UK maintained a world-leading position.

The government is expected to release a white paper on its industrial strategy later this year.

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