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Uni of South Wales awarded £1 million to invest in battery research

The University of South Wales has been awarded £995,000 to invest in large-scale battery research.

The funding comes from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) Research and Innovation Capital Funding.

It will be used to establish a large-scale battery and smart distributed energy simulation research laboratory at the University’s Power Systems Laboratory in Treforest. The laboratory is home to the University’s Centre for Automotive and Power Systems Engineering (CAPSE), a specialist team undertaking research and testing for the motorsport and automotive industry, as well as supporting niche technology and power companies in Wales. Clients and research partners include Ricardo, Johnson Matthey Battery Systems, Oxis, Yuasa Battery (UK) and Enersys, amongst others.

The new funding will enable the laboratory to test and simulate battery systems up to 1.6 mega-watts, the largest of any similar research facility in the UK.

The team will be working with a number of companies to test battery technology for automotive, specialist national grid infrastructure and renewable energy applications. They include Continental Engineering Services, General Dynamics, Riversimple, Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, Denis Ferranti with others also joining the research programme.

They will be focussing their research on the storage of electrical energy, the rapid charge of batteries for vehicles, frequency stabilisation and using batteries to support peak power usage on the local national grid.

Jonathan Williams, Director of CAPSE at the University of South Wales, said:

“This investment will enable us to carry out applied research for developing battery technology that will help industry to develop new products and services. The facility will have the flexibility to test any renewable or energy storage technology, while also simultaneously testing the national grid level interface and/or power transfer algorithms on singular or multiple application basis at the same time.

“We are already working with a range of companies to support the development of batteries for the automotive, technology and power industry and our new facilities will enhance that work to test larger and more powerful batteries to compliment this.”

HEFCW’s budget expenditure for 2017-18 included £5.9m of capital funding which has been allocated to fund projects that will either directly leverage external competitive match funding, to allow HE institutions in Wales to participate in high-value UK-wide projects, or proposals that will leverage or enhance funding from internal sources.