Faraday’s £3m for battery projects across Africa

Faraday’s £3m for battery projects across Africa

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Faraday will identify up to six projects across Africa for energy storage applications. Currently, 600m people across the African continent have no access to electricity, while 60 per cent of African businesses say access to reliable power is a constraint on their growth. Power outages cost African countries 1 to 2 per cent of their GDP annually, and energy storage systems are looking to replace 25m diesel and petrol generators.

The research projects will be funded from a £3 million grant that is part of the £100m Transforming Energy Access Programme. This supports early stage testing and scale up of innovative technologies and business models that will accelerate access to affordable, clean energy based services to poor households and enterprises, especially in Africa. 

“Through this programme and our wider work with the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance and World Bank’s Energy Storage Partnership we are pleased that the Faraday Institution is in a position to effect global change, helping communities with low or no connectivity to have reliable access to energy sources and bringing economic, social and environment benefits to developing countries and emerging economies,” said Ian Ellerington, Head of Technology Transfer at the Faraday Institution.

Three calls for proposals are being published by the Faraday Institution:

Scientific research projects to reduce the cost and improve the performance of battery technologies for use in developing countries and emerging economies. The programmes will focus on pre-commercialised technologies such as flow batteries, zinc-air and copper-zinc batteries. Two to four such projects will be funded.

A techno-economic analysis of the costs and prospects for replacing generators running on fossil fuels with battery storage technologies in developing countries and emerging economies.

A socioeconomic analysis of the energy transition. This study will uncover political, economic and social insights that would have implications for a successful transition from use of diesel generators to energy storage. One key objective will be to reveal underlying interests, incentives and institutions in order to enable change and to inform realistic expectations of what can be achieved, and the risks involved.

The £3m grant from UK aid is also funding an internationally focussed top up to the Faraday Institution’s existing NEXGENNA project, led by the University of St. Andrews. NEXGENNA aims to deliver a step-change in sodium-ion battery technology that will deliver high performance, cost-competitive, safe and long-lasting batteries. This battery chemistry has the potential to be the preferred energy storage solution in applications where a low price is more important than battery size and weight. As such, this technology is a leading prospect for widespread deployment for stationary storage applications in emerging economies.

“While the Faraday Institution was previously focused on the automotive sector to meet the Government’s Road to Zero commitments, the projects to be funded by DfID are an additional step in our quest to break down the fundamental scientific barriers that hinder the commercial realisation of battery technologies for other applications – for static storage and grid applications – and beyond, to aero, rail and marine,” Ian Ellerington continues. “The knowledge that is being developed as part of the Faraday Battery Challenge will be leveraged and applied to technologies suitable for deployment in emerging economies.” 

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