Powering up the UK net zero supply chain

Detail of copper winding, stack and shaft of a electric permeant magnet motor for home appliances

UK companies across multiple sectors to benefit from a £28.5 million investment into cutting edge equipment to help them achieve the UK’s net zero ambitions.

Investment from the driving the electric revolution challenge at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is providing a critical financial boost to nine facilities located across the UK.

The £28.5 million investment in new equipment, which will be operational later this year, builds on existing capability and fills gaps in the UK’s current capability. The investment will enable a competitive electrification supply chain to be built across sectors, including:

  • industrial
  • transport
  • energy.

The new equipment

The new equipment consists of:

  • a high power integrated electrical propulsion and powertrain accelerator at the Power Networks Demonstration Centre, University of Strathclyde
  • assembly lines for power electronics and electrical machines at the North East Innovation Centre, Sunderland
  • a high frequency coil manufacturing and magnetic test facility at the University of Nottingham
  • a power electronics reliability and failure analysis facility and an electrical machines winding centre of excellence at the University of Warwick
  • a wide band gap power electronics component industrial pilot line at Swansea University
  • a production line for recycled sintered magnets at the University of Birmingham
  • a prototype facility for ceramic and copper elements and subassemblies for integrated modules at the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult in Newport.

Nationwide capability

Led by Newcastle University, this investment will play a vital role in bringing together a UK-wide network of over 30 academic, research and technology organisations. The network gives businesses the opportunity to:

  • develop manufacturing process technologies
  • industrialise the processes needed for power electronics, electric machines and drives (PEMD) scale up
  • reduce risk by sharing expertise, technical advice and facilities.

Four regional industrialisation centres will coordinate and build on the UK’s national capability to deliver long-term sustainable growth on the road to net zero. The four centres are in:

  • Scotland
  • the south-west and Wales
  • the north-east
  • the Midlands.

Together they will help businesses scale up the use of electric-powered vehicles and machines across a range of industries and transport systems to grow the UK supply chain.

Making the UK a world leader in PEMD

Professor Will Drury, driving the electric revolution Challenge Director said:

This investment represents a vital step forward in making the UK a world leader in PEMD.

With access to the centres and network open to all, we aim to give all UK businesses and researchers the ability to develop and scale new PEMD technologies and manufacturing processes.

Only by investing now in developing PEMD will the UK achieve its net zero ambitions.

Professor Brian Walker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Strategy and Resources at Newcastle University said:

At Newcastle University, we are delighted to be leading the driving the electric revolution industrialisation centres national project.

The support from UKRI allows us to bring to life a vision that was conceived by colleagues from across the UK and connects the UK’s best research and development across PEMD.

It is essential that the UK grasps the opportunity to lead in providing supply chains for electrification of multiple modes of transport if we are to maintain our manufacturing capacity and meet our targets for electric vehicles in 2030 and net zero carbon by 2050.

Top image:  Credit: Bosca78/GettyImages

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