A £5.4m project to commercialise quantum technology for batteries and so cement the UK as a key player in the flourishing electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing industry has been launched.

Dubbed Project Quantum, it brings together nine different partners across industry and academia to bring known quantum technology for lithium battery manufacture to commercial readiness.

Designed for batteries in EVs, the technology combats known inefficiencies in lithium cell manufacture, improving quality yields and speeding up the manufacture process. This should result in improved EV batteries that are faster to produce than current versions.

“Like all battery manufacturers, we will be burdened with the bottleneck of cell formation and ageing processes – which can take up to three weeks and account for a staggering 30% of the cost,” explained Kevin Brundish, CEO of AMTE Power.

“There is an urgent need for rapid, continuous and non-invasive monitoring of the cell ageing process on the production line. New quantum sensing technology can cut the cost of production and provide additional capability in grading battery quality, meaning more cells can be produced in a shorter space of time – greatly impacting the bottom-line.”

The project sees collaboration between Compound Semiconductor Technologies, Compound Semiconductor Centre, Centre for Process Innovation, University of Strathclyde, Kelvin Nanotechnology, University of Sussex, Magnetic Shields, Alter Technology Ltd and CDO2, with AMTE Power leading the initiative.

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By GlobalData

AMTE integrate the process into its pouch cell assembly, with a view to producing the resulting batteries in its planned gigafactory.

Project Quantum brings technology to batteries as EV demand surges

The project comes as demand for electric vehicles – and so, EV batteries – is climbing significantly.

EVs are expected to account for one in five car sales by 2026, and the UK is keen to build on its already strong presence in this space.

“AMTE Power is proud to be leading on a project that will support the scalable, onshore production of clean, affordable transportation, enabled by an extensive team of world-class industry and academic partners,” said Brundish.

“Making the battery production process both more efficient and greener is a crucial step towards the UK meeting its zero carbon climate objectives, especially as approximately 50% of vehicle production will be wholly, or partially, electric by 2030. The collaborative Project Quantum firmly cements the country’s exceptional talent and capabilities within the research and development of pioneering cell technology, helping the UK to become more competitive on the international stage.”

The initiative also forms part of the UK government’s wider industrial strategy, as it looks to technology and industry to strengthen the post-Brexit economy.

“The future of our industry – and economy – depends on innovation and collaboration with institutions who are investing in pioneering lithium ion research and development,” Brundish concluded.

“Aligning with the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which outlines the government’s ambitions on EV and battery technologies, the UK should now be building out an independent infrastructure for lithium-ion batteries, in support of firms like AMTE Power’s gigafactory expansion plans.”

Read more: South Wales chosen as location for UK’s first gigafactory