Friday, March 6, 2020

Major Investment for Multimodal Electric Transport for the Future

UK Government Commits to Clean Power Logistics
Shipping News Feature

UK – The UK Government has announced a major investment to design, test and manufacture electric machines in some of the UK's most polluting industries. £30 million will be used to create 4 new, cutting-edge centres of excellence, based in Newport, Nottingham, Strathclyde and Sunderland, which will aim to bring together climate change pioneers to research and develop green electric machines including planes, ships and cars.

Using state of the art equipment, the network will specialise in researching and developing technologies to electrify transport. Each centre will look to propel UK manufacturing to the forefront of global efforts to tackle climate change and ensure the UK can reach net zero emissions by 2050.

A further £6.7 million will be awarded to 14 projects that will help ensure the final buyer in supply chains, such as large automotive manufacturers, can access the parts and components they need to develop electric machines with ease.

This investment will have applications for electric vehicles, as well as other industries including rail, marine, aerospace, and energy, all with the aim of switching away from fossil fuel technologies. Business Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma said:

“The electric revolution is an opportunity for our transport sectors to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels. The UK is leading the way in developing cleaner technologies to help us reach our target of zero emissions by 2050 and these new centres will play an important part in that.”

The £30 million industrialisation centres will provide a home for virtual product development, digital manufacturing and advanced assembly techniques, which aims to drive world-leading improvements in the testing and manufacturing of electric machines. This includes power electronics, electric machines and drives, all of which are crucial to controlling the power input in electric vehicles and ultimately to their widespread rollout on British streets.

More than 30 partner research and technology organisations will be a part of the industrialisation centres. The network will be headed up by lead partner Newcastle University, along with 21 other universities from around the UK, plus 13 research and technology organisations, and will be essential in attracting both foreign direct investment and new, innovative entrants into this space. Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said:

“Funding and increased support for state-of-the-art electric manufacturing centres will help people, goods and services move across the nation, in a greener, safer and more reliable way than ever before.

“By investing in world-leading science and engineering institutions, we are creating a modern transport system, bringing communities closer together while reducing the UK’s contribution to climate change.”

Photo: The X-57 Maxwell all electric aircraft from NASA. It’s 100 mile, one hour range illustrates perfectly the conundrum of battery power versus weight faced by scientists trying to improve such craft.