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Harwell Campus to home new £65m Faraday Institution HQ charged with tackling global energy storage challenge

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Harwell Campus, location for the new Faraday Institution HQ, 2017

Harwell Science and Innovation Campus has been selected to home the flagship Faraday Institution Headquarters, a new Government funded £65 million research institute charged with leading the UK’s research into energy storage and battery technology. Harwell Campus, a UK science and innovation hub, was selected for its ability to bring together the best UK scientists and engineers, a unique open access multi-disciplinary environment and its world-leading science facilities.  

Energy storage has been identified as an area of critical research in the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge with £246 million to be invested over four years to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the move to a low carbon economy. Industry, academia and public bodies work together at Harwell Campus and this multidisciplinary setting, which supports start-ups, SMEs and corporates, will accelerate the exploitation and commercialisation of the Faraday Institution’s research. Electric vehicles will be the initial research target for the Harwell Campus based HQ but at a global level effective storage technology could deliver energy to tens of millions of people across south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The founding Executive Chairman of the Faraday Institution will be Professor. Peter B. Littlewood FRS, currently Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago and former Head of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge who said: “Michael Faraday founded battery science and electrical engines in the 19th Century, and the UK led the invention of Li-ion batteries for mobile electronics in the 20th. In the 21st it should lead in the transition to electrification of vehicles, and then in the convergence of the digital and electrified economy. This is the goal of the Faraday Institution and the Harwell Campus provides a natural home for the institution to bring together the UKs best minds, in academia and industry, to tackle these grand energy challenges.”

Angus Horner, Director at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus said: “Harwell has been leading the world in energy research for over 70 years.  Our brilliant people have been pivotal in battery technology advancements, including the team that invented the world’s first modern Lithium-ion battery in the 1970s.  On Campus we have over 30 public, academic and commercial organisations benefiting from shared resources and research, working in the energy field with many dedicated to battery technology and storage. Having the Faraday Institution HQ based here is a win-win all round.”

The Faraday Institution HQ will be co-located with over £2bn of world-leading facilities at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus – the Diamond Light Source, the ISIS neutron and muon facility and the Central Laser Facility, all providing sub-atomic imaging capabilities, advanced computing and electron microscopy facilities.  Together these provide an unparalleled range of integrated analytical capabilities to explore and understand battery science and technology.

Harwell has a rich heritage in energy research and storage expertise, since its conception for R&D purposes as the UK’s centre for civil nuclear energy research in 1946.  Hundreds of millions of people in and outside the UK have received reliable and cheaper energy over many decades due to discoveries made at Harwell.  Energy remains a consistent pillar of work for the Campus and this has evolved into research into newer forms of clean energy to meet society’s global challenges.  Those characteristics and culture remain today.