As well as our scientific research programmes, the Faraday Institution provides an independent, evidence-based understanding of battery economics, societal issues, capabilities, and competitive position through commissioned studies and insights publications. The aim is to bridge knowledge gaps across industry, academia and government.
The Faraday Institution regularly publishes Faraday Insights, evidence-based assessments of the market, economics, commercial potential, and capabilities for energy storage technologies and the transition to a fully electric UK. The insights are concise briefings that aim to help bridge knowledge gaps across industry, academia, and government.
If you would like to suggest a subject for a future Insight, please contact us.
A Method to Prioritise and Accelerate the Commercial Value of Research
The Faraday Institution has developed an analytical methodology to assess early-stage commercialisation potential for each of its research projects. The assessment results in a bespoke approach to commercialisation tailored to each project, the prioritisation of limited resources and the development of consortia that are investment ready. The approach can be implemented by any organisation with limited resources and a portfolio of research projects.
The UK: A Low Carbon Location to Manufacture, Drive and Recycle Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles (EVs) have much lower life cycle carbon emissions than petrol and diesel vehicles using internal combustion engines (ICE). Carbon emissions over the EV life cycle are falling fast as the UK electricity grid is decarbonised and the UK moves towards Net Zero. Total life cycle carbon emissions of a medium-sized battery EV will be about one-quarter of a petrol car sold in 2025, with UK-manufactured EV batteries 12% greener than the European average.
Sodium-ion Batteries: Inexpensive and Sustainable Energy Storage
Sodium-ion batteries are an emerging battery technology with promising cost, safety, sustainability and performance advantages over current commercialised lithium-ion batteries. Key advantages include the use of widely available and inexpensive raw materials and a rapidly scalable technology based around existing lithium-ion production methods. These properties make sodium-ion batteries especially important in meeting global demand for carbon-neutral energy storage solutions.
Why Batteries Fail and How to Improve Them: Understanding Degradation to Advance Lithium-ion Battery Performance
Fundamental research on lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) dates to the 1970s, with their successful commercialisation delivered by Sony in 1991. Since then, LIBs have revolutionised the world of portable electronics, owing to their high energy density and long lifespan. Whilst LIB uptake initially powered small devices, they are now enabling global growth in electric vehicles, as well as having an increasing presence in new areas such as grid storage. Whilst LIBs will continue to lead electrification in multiple sectors, there are still requirements for improvements in lifetime, performance and safety. To achieve these researchers need to better understand – and find ways to mitigate – the many causes of battery degradation.
The Importance of Coherent Regulatory and Policy Strategies for the Recycling of EV Batteries
The move to electric vehicles (EVs) has the potential to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution. However, the transition also brings associated environmental challenges with the need for efficient recycling systems to tackle the large numbers of EV lithium-ion batteries reaching end-of-life. Unless this waste flow is managed, some of the gains of the transition to EVs will be lost. Effective waste management infrastructure and a supportive regulatory framework will be necessary to realise the full benefits of a decarbonised transport sector.
Lithium-Sulfur Batteries: Lightweight Technology for Multiple Sectors
Lithium-sulfur technology has the potential to offer cheaper, lighter-weight batteries that also offer safety advantages. After initially finding use in niche markets such as satellites, drones and military vehicles, the technology has the potential to transform aviation in the long-term. Electric aircraft offering short-range flights or vertical take-off and landing (including personalised aviation and flying taxis in cities) are distinct possibilities by 2050. The UK, which is already home to established lithium-sulfur battery manufacturers and to leading academics in the field, has a great opportunity to be the global leader in this ground-breaking technology.
A rapidly growing market for batteries across the globe has intensified pressures on suppliers of cobalt to meet surges in demand. This has impacted the livelihoods of miners – in particular, those working in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s artisanal and small-scale mines – in both beneficial and deleterious ways. International efforts by businesses, governments, and NGOs to secure a responsible supply chain for cobalt have the potential to protect lives and livelihoods while ensuring corrupt practices are held in check.
Lithium, Cobalt and Nickel: The Gold Rush of the 21st Century
Ending UK sales of new vehicles running on diesel and petrol by 2030 will massively increase the demand for lithium, cobalt and nickel used to manufacture electric vehicle batteries. Many countries around the world are embarking on a similar path to electrification. Even so, global markets for raw materials should be able to deliver the demand in the UK and elsewhere. But action is needed now to iron out likely bottlenecks in supply chains.
Solid-State Batteries: The Technology of the 2030s but the Research Challenge of the 2020s
The development of solid-state batteries that can be manufactured at a large scale is one of the most important challenges in the battery industry today. The ambition is to develop solid-state batteries, suitable for use in electric vehicles, which substantially surpass the performance, safety, and processing limitations of lithium-ion batteries. In contrast to research into lithium-ion batteries, which will provide incremental gains in performance toward theoretical limits, research into solid-state batteries is long-term and high-risk but also has the potential to be high-reward.
Electric Vehicle and Battery Safety Skills for Emergency Services, Vehicle Repair, and Auto Retailers
Fire, police, ambulance, and service personnel will need new skills to handle EV accidents and repair to ensure the safety of themselves and others. The number of those workers who need reskilling is substantial and resources are needed to support sector skills councils and providers for regional delivery of accredited courses.
This insight was first published in November 2019, with minor updates made in May 2021.
Bringing Cheap, Clean and Reliable Energy to Developing Countries
Over 800 million people worldwide do not have access to electricity and, of those that do, many suffer from an unreliable supply. Diesel and petrol generators commonly used in developing countries bring problems of noise, air quality and climate impacts. Energy storage technologies including batteries have the potential to replace generators and provide cheap, clean and reliable electricity to millions of people.
The Faraday Institution and the Department for International Development (DfID) commissioned consultants Vivid Economics to perform a rapid market and technology assessment of storage in weak and off-grid contexts in developing countries, to which this Insight refers.
The Gigafactory Boom: the Demand for Battery Manufacturing in the UK
The transition to electric vehicles will substantially increase the demand for batteries. Across Europe,
there is a race to develop battery manufacturing factories to meet this demand. The UK is well-positioned to be a major player in this market. By 2040, the Faraday Institution estimates that ten
gigafactories will be needed in the UK, which could support 170,000 jobs in the automotive industry
and a further 100,000 jobs in battery manufacturing and the wider battery supply chain.
The Road to Electrification – From the Internal Combustion Engine to the Battery Electric Vehicle
The global automotive industry is transitioning from the internal combustion engine to electric
vehicles. The UK is at the forefront of this dynamic change and push towards the electrification of
road transport with electric vehicles representing 34% of new sales in the first quarter of 2022.
Nearly all new cars bought by the UK consumer are expected to be electric vehicles by 2030.
UK Electric Vehicle and Battery Production Potential to 2040
In June 2022 the Faraday Institution published an update to its study “UK Electric Vehicle and Battery Production Potential to 2040”, last updated in March 2020.
The study answers the question, “What is the maximum opportunity for EV and battery cell production to be based in the UK by 2030 and 2040, and what actions need to be taken now, and by whom, to ensure that this opportunity is captured?”
The Faraday Institution predicts that there will be demand for ten UK-based gigafactories (large, high volume battery manufacturing facilities) by 2040, each producing 20 GWh per year of batteries. While there is growing optimism for the UK battery manufacturing industry, redoubling of efforts is needed to keep pace with investments across Europe.
Techno-economic Analysis of Battery Energy Storage for Reducing Fossil Fuel Use in Sub-Saharan Africa
A new report, commissioned by the Faraday Institution and carried out by DNV and TFE Africa, explores the potential of battery energy storage solutions BESS to be viable and competitive in sub-Saharan Africa, as a way of offering alternative solutions for resilience and grid independence. If realised, this would enable the integration of more utility-scale renewables and bringing electricity and opportunity to the least developed corners of the continent.
The accompanying techno-economic model into BESS, explores their potential to displace fossil-fuel powered generators and increase the uptake of cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy.
The study was funded through the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) programme, funded by UK Aid from the UK government. TEA is a research and innovation platform supporting the technologies, business models and skills needed to enable an inclusive clean energy transition.
National Electrification Skills Framework and Forum
New technologies and a skilled workforce are both essential to meet the challenge of net carbon zero. To ensure the UK is ready for the transition, a new skills framework has been created by WMG – University of Warwick, The Faraday Institution and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
This Faraday Report gives an overview of current battery technologies and markets for high energy applications. It is intended for use primarily by scientists and engineers in academia and industry as an introduction to current state of the art and an indication of what may be coming to the market over the next 5-10 years. For those not familiar with batteries for high energy applications, the report will inform early stages of product road-mapping and design. It also will provide readers with pointers of where to look for more detailed specification information. For those more familiar with the relevant battery technologies the report gives an introduction to the competitive landscape.
Global Overview of Energy Storage Performance Test Protocols
The Faraday Institution worked with NREL (the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory) and the World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) on the report “Global Overview of Energy Storage Performance Test Protocols” published in October 2020.
The following Faraday Institution technology roadmaps present an overview of the fundamental challenges impeding the commercial development of a range of energy storage technologies, the necessary advances to understand the underlying science, and the multidisciplinary approach being taken by our researchers in facing these challenges. It is our hope that these roadmaps will guide academia, industry, and funding agencies towards the further development of such batteries in the future.
2021 Roadmap on Lithium-Ion Battery Cathode Materials
The following reports were commissioned by the Faraday Institution or represent key publications in which the Faraday Institution played a contributing role.
A Zero Carbon Energy System: The Operability Challenge
The UK energy sector has been invigorated by the recent commitments to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 (2045 in Scotland), and a fully decarbonised electricity system by 2035. Meeting these legally-binding emissions targets will require a comprehensive rethink of how the UK power system – a central enabler of the transition to Net Zero – is developed and operated.
While work is underway to facilitate the near-term replacement of fossil-fuelled generation with renewable technologies, less attention is given to the end state – the operation of a fully decarbonised power system.
This report – by Energy Systems Catapult in collaboration with the Faraday Institution and supported by TNEI – presents fresh thinking about a zero carbon system and how it will be operated. It focusses on some of the key parameters that make up the system operation, and is intended as a starting point to generate conversation and debate.
In addition to our Faraday Insights, the organisation also circulates short press briefings on subjects topical to energy storage policy and market adoption. These provide comment from subject area experts and background information providing insight to journalists.
We welcome approaches from journalists seeking comment on a range of subject areas around battery research, innovation, roll-out and policy. Please contact Communications Lead Louise Gould to set up an interview.
Brexit and Batteries: Rules of Origin
“The trade deal and new rules of origin should provide the conditions for the UK automotive industry to succeed. But, to do so, it is now more important than ever that gigafactories are built in the UK, and quickly, and with well-developed local supply chains,” Stephen Gifford, Chief Economist, Faraday Institution.
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