The Faraday Institution launches new programme to research battery technologies for developing countries and emerging economies

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Louise Gould

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Call for proposals to provide scientific, technical and socioeconomic research

HARWELL, UK (March 11th, 2020) – The Faraday Institution has announced a new programme in developing countries and emerging economies to advance the use of energy storage to provide access to cheap, sustainable and reliable energy. With an initial focus on regions in Africa, up to six projects will be funded to identify opportunities for battery solutions that will promote inclusive, reliable and affordable energy access, and enable the clean energy transition.

Currently, 600 million people across the African continent have no access to electricity. 60% of African businesses say access to reliable power is a constraint on their growth. Power outages cost African countries 1 to 2% of their GDP annually. It is estimated that energy storage technologies could save up to 100 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year by replacing 25 million diesel and gasoline generators in developing countries.

The research projects will be funded from a £3 million grant provided to the Faraday Institution from the UK aid as part of its Transforming Energy Access Programme, which supports early stage testing and scale up of innovative technologies and business models that will accelerate access to affordable, clean energy based services to poor households and enterprises, especially in Africa. 

Ian Ellerington, Head of Technology Transfer at the Faraday Institution said, “Through this programme and our wider work with the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance and World Bank’s Energy Storage Partnership we are pleased that the Faraday Institution is in a position to effect global change, helping communities with low or no connectivity to have reliable access to energy sources and bringing economic, social and environment benefits to developing countries and emerging economies.”

Three calls for proposals are being published by the Faraday Institution:

  • Scientific research projects to reduce the cost and improve the performance of battery technologies for use in developing countries and emerging economies. The programmes will focus on pre-commercialised technologies such as flow batteries, zinc-air and copper-zinc batteries. Two to four such projects will be funded.
  • A techno-economic analysis of the costs and prospects for replacing generators running on fossil fuels with battery storage technologies in developing countries and emerging economies.
  • A socioeconomic analysis of the energy transition. This study will uncover political, economic and social insights that would have implications for a successful transition from use of diesel generators to energy storage. One key objective will be to reveal underlying interests, incentives and institutions in order to enable change and to inform realistic expectations of what can be achieved, and the risks involved.

The scope of the calls was informed by a study to define the market and technological needs and opportunities for battery and other energy storage technologies in developing countries and emerging economies, which was completed by Vivid Economics in 2019. Report. Faraday Insight.

The £3m grant from UK aid is also funding an internationally focussed top up to the Faraday Institution’s existing NEXGENNA project, led by the University of St. Andrews. NEXGENNA aims to deliver a step-change in sodium-ion battery technology that will deliver high performance, cost-competitive, safe and long-lasting batteries. This battery chemistry has the potential to be the preferred energy storage solution in applications where a low price is more important than battery size and weight. As such, this technology is a leading prospect for widespread deployment for stationary storage applications in emerging economies.

“While the Faraday Institution was previously focused on the automotive sector to meet the Government’s Road to Zero commitments, the projects to be funded by DfID are an additional step in our quest to break down the fundamental scientific barriers that hinder the commercial realisation of battery technologies for other applications – for static storage and grid applications – and beyond, to aero, rail and marine,” Ian Ellerington continues. “The knowledge that is being developed as part of the Faraday Battery Challenge will be leveraged and applied to technologies suitable for deployment in emerging economies.”

Full details of the calls for proposals can be accessed here. For more information about the Faraday Institution visit faraday.ac.uk or follow @FaradayInst on twitter.

Notes to Editors

Powering Britain’s battery revolution, the Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage science and technology, supporting research, training, and analysis. Bringing together expertise from universities and industry, the Faraday Institution endeavours to make the UK the go-to place for the research and development of the manufacture and production of new electrical storage technologies for both the automotive and wider relevant sectors.

The first phase of the Faraday Institution is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of UK Research and Innovation through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). Headquartered at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, the Faraday Institution is a registered charity with an independent board of trustees.

The ISCF Faraday Battery Challenge is to develop and manufacture batteries for the electrification of vehicles – £274 million over four years – to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the move to a low carbon economy. The challenge comprises of three elements: research, innovation, and scale-up.

The £3m funding for the programme announced today is part of the scale-up to the Transforming Energy Access programme announced by DfID Ministers in March 2019. This funding is part of the £100m Transforming Energy Access programme which supports early stage testing and scale up of innovative technologies and business models that will accelerate access to affordable, clean energy-based services to poor households and enterprises, especially in Africa. The funding provided by UK aid builds on the scientific capability created under the Faraday Battery Challenge, but with a focus on the needs and opportunities in developing countries.

Posted on March 10, 2020 in Press Release

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About the Author

Louise Gould is a marketing and communications professional who has centred her career around technology-based organisations. She joined the Faraday Institution after 5 years as Marketing Communications Manager at the renewable fuels company Velocys. View her biography here https://faraday.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Louise-Gould-Nov-2018.pdf

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