The UK is leading international efforts to achieve net zero by 2050 and became the first major economy to commit to this in law during the UN COP26 climate summit. This provides exciting opportunities for Indian start-ups to access funding, collaborate with British businesses, and further develop & commercialise their technologies that address Net Zero.
The Triple Chasm Company is running a UK-India Tech Start-up Accelerator in partnership with Cambridge Cleantech to support Indian tech-startups, including those developing battery technologies and mobility solutions, helping them to engage with the UK net zero innovation ecosystem.
UK government's Net Zero Strategy announced in October 2021 sets out a comprehensive economy-wide plan for lowering UK's reliance on fossil fuels by investing in sustainable clean energy by supporting British businesses and consumers to make the transition to clean energy and green technology. The Net Zero Strategy sets out a vision for a decarbonised UK economy in 2050 and clear policies and proposals for meeting and staying on track for the current and upcoming carbon budgets. This strategy will provide certainty to businesses and help the UK gain a competitive edge in the latest low carbon technologies – from heat pumps to electric vehicles – and develop thriving green industries such as carbon capture and hydrogen-based technologies in the UK's industrial heartlands. The Net Zero Strategy will be supported by new funding from the public sector to de-risk the technologies and unlock private sector funding from venture investors.
Battery technologies are a key component of the UK's ambition to achieve Net Zero through their deployment in electric vehicles, energy storage and other applications. With the ban on sales of new cars and vans powered by petrol and diesel in 2030, there is a need for advanced battery technologies to support this transition. The focus of UK's funding to support battery technologies cover a wide range of areas: reducing the battery cells or packs costs, increasing their energy or power density, enhancing their safety, lengthening their lifetime, new models to better predict the battery range and health, increasing recyclability of battery packs, improving their production, and improving their integration into modules, packs, and vehicles. The Faraday challenge is a £246 million programme funded by the UK government that addresses eight key targets of automotive battery technology which will allow the UK to realise its commitment to move to full electrification and zero emissions vehicles and the shift to battery driven mobility solutions such as e-bikes. Through the Faraday Battery Challenge, 70+ innovation projects have received funding to perform feasibility studies and advanced research in areas such as Battery management systems, use of novel materials, solid state batteries, battery safety, and safe disposal of used batteries.
Some interesting UK companies that have received funding from the Faraday Challenge programme are: iCoNiChem, working together with Warwick Manufacturing Group to improve the recycling of rare materials used in batteries; Deregallera, developing a hybrid energy storage system to extend the life of an electric vehicle battery by 50%; Ilika Technologies, working on a solid-state battery with longer life and higher energy and power density; Brill Power is developing approaches to utilise its battery management control system to enhance the manufacture and performance of batteries for electric vehicles.
Two companies from UK-India Tech Start-up Accelerator are targeting battery technology opportunities: Rechargion Energy, developing next-generation Sodium-ion & Lithium-sulphur batteries and Delta-X Automotive, developing the KIX Bike, a portable electric vehicle that can be charged at the living room.
With its Net Zero Strategy supported by initiatives such as Faraday Battery Challenge, the UK is shaping up to be a major global player in the research, development of battery technologies and their deployment in EVs, mobility solutions and other transportation and storage applications. Companies active in this space, within the UK or based in India, can accelerate their technology development and deployment by engaging more closely with the UK ecosystem. To learn more about the accelerator programme and its methodology, please visit the UK India Tech Start-up Accelerator and The Triple Chasm Company websites.