Professor Colin Herron at Newcastle University reflects on 12 months of work since forming the North East Battery Alliance (NEBA).
To celebrate the 12 month milestone, an afternoon event was set up to bring together the ‘triple helix’ of academia, industry and the public sector. NEBA has established a board of governance of which the chair Matthew Lumsden said had reached a ”level of maturity to move forward”.
Several presentations were supported by a panel discussion with George Marston Pro Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Projects) at Northumbria representing the region’s universities. There was also a talk from James Gaade, Research Programme Director at The Faraday Institution on how the region’s activities fit into the wider UK’s battery research activities.
What was very clear is that this is a new industrial revolution with the North East uniquely placed to capitalise on the potential from power generation to vehicle manufacture.
With regard to Batteries, Envision AESC are still the pioneer not only in the region but the UK and hopefully Recharge Industries will soon start work on their plans for Cambois in Northumberland.
Cambois of course is where the failed Britishvolt gigfactory was to be built. The collapse of Britishvolt was a heavy blow.
But the wider region has also seen huge investment in Teesside with two lithium processing plants.
Looking to the future
Whilst national and even international politics will have a signficant role in the race to Net Zero and drive to electrification, the devolution deal for the North East of England presents a wide range of opportunities and the region’s battery and electrification community must prepare proposals and ideas that can be supported.
Mike Capaldi, Dean of Innovation and Business at Newcastle University set out the flagship ambition to bring all regional electrification effort under one umbrella organisation: a new Electrification Process Innovation Centre (EPIC).
September 2024 will be a significant milestone for the region when the the Faraday Institution national battery conference will be hosted. 500 delegates are expected and it will be an important event.
There will also be a new exhibition from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums called ‘Steam to Green.’ Celebrating the green industrial revolution, the exhibition will engage thousands of school students and the wider public.
Source: Newcastle University