On and on and on: Government sets 4-hour challenge in £68 million tech contest for big batteries


Imititating the power retaining capabilities at grid scale of a famous rabbit is the goal is the goal for a new engineering endurance contest unveiled by energy ministry Beis.

Jump-starting Britain’s charge towards high volume battery innovation was flagged as an intention in the department’s energy white paper, issued in December. The contest is part of the Johnson administration’s £1 billion pledge to foster new technologies speeding progress towards Net Zero.

Details just released by Beis for the competition will pit electrical innovators against each other, in a two-stream format intended to encourage co-working and consortia.   Four-hours is the minimum endurance sought from new large-scale prototypes.

The stream may be split into two phases, with entrants weeded out after the first phase, dubbed mobilisation.   At least three projects or inventions would be needed to progress to the second phase, focusing on construction and commissioning.

£30 million of contracts from the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) underpins Stream Two, where teams must share and manage development risk.

Delivery is again phased, including rejection possible after an initial feasibility assessment. Again at least three projects need to be in play, in order to progress to construction and commissioning.

The REA – now styled the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology – will manage the competition.

Applications are open from now until next month, and the REA has scheduled June 17 for an explanatory meeting.     The competition proper will start in September.

More details here.


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