As SPAL is leading the charge in the development of cooling systems for BEVs, we were excited to watch the latest episode of Countryfile (23rd August) with a feature on the UK’s shift to electric cars over the next five years and the vital part having a homegrown battery industry will be to serve the automotive sector.
The key to it all is lithium, first discovered in the 1800s with no known purpose at the time, from the Cornish tin mines where Faraday Battery Challenge R & D partner, Cornish Lithium is currently working to extract the metal from the underground hot springs.
As lithium batteries are a green technology the method of extraction is going to be carbon neutral with the process generating geothermal energy for the surrounding area.
There is even a plan for batteries at the end of their life to be engineered for reuse as power storage.
Of course, we are not there yet with having a ready supply of lithium available, but COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of change and highlighted the need for a home sourced raw materials rather than relying supplies from Chile and Japan.
In 3-5 years’ time, when the Cornish supply comes online, it will go to service the Faraday Institution’s £12bn grant investment programme to build 7 giga factories by 2040.
Having UK based battery factories will also be important to retain EV manufacturing skills in this country and to be properly part of the electric future; and SPAL, allied to the Faraday Battery Challenge, will certainly be watching this space.