UKBIC SME Credit Round 2 – digital or software

Key Features

UK registered micro, small and medium enterprises, can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million to increase and facilitate their engagement with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC). This funding is from Faraday Battery Challenge.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £1.5 million

Opens: 8th Jan 2024

Closes: 6th Mar 2024

! This scheme is closing soon

Overview

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with Faraday Battery Challenge to invest up to £1.5 million in innovation scale-up projects.

Scope

The aim of this competition is to:

  • support a micro, small or medium size enterprise’s (SME) research and development for the scale-up of battery technologies within the UK
  • support an SME to access the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) and demonstrate technologies at suitable scales to customers
  • increase engagement with UKBIC
  • move UK battery innovations from technological potential towards commercial capability
  • develop and secure material and manufacturing supply chains for battery technologies in the UK

Your project must demonstrate that you have developed or proven your innovation to a technology readiness level (TRL) 5 or above.

Your proposal must clearly demonstrate:

  • the current maturity of your project or innovation including scale, yield and quality
  • the work done to date to validate and prove your technology at its current level of maturity
  • that your project or innovation is appropriate for, and compatible with, the giga-scale compatible pilot-line production facilities at UKBIC, for example, material and scale compatibility
  • how you intend to use the UKBIC giga-scale pilot-line facilities
  • the availability of materials and consumables for the project
  • the nature of the outputs expected from the project
  • the volume of product expected at the end of the project, if applicable
  • how you will validate product performance
  • how your project will accelerate your route to market
  • how you will engage with customers during and following the project
  • how the project outputs and outcomes will facilitate customer engagement

UKBIC operates an advanced and high throughput but conventional lithium iron (Li-ion) process line. This means that not all materials or processes will be compatible. Solid State processes are not viable on the existing line at this stage.

Specific Themes

Your project must build and secure the UK supply chain for battery technologies.

Your project must focus on one or more of the following:

  • complete electrode and cell manufacturing process
  • electrode manufacturing processes at scale
  • new electrode formulations at scale, line compatibility to be confirmed dependent on specific solvent, either water or NMP, and material
  • proving electrodes or other cell assembly processes at scale, for example, electrode only, includes mixing and coating, calendering and slitting
  • developing cell to module and pack assembly processes and associated testing
  • testing process measurement and control systems on the UKBIC cell manufacturing process line, while considering integration for closed loop control of processes
  • using novel software analytical methods for manufacturing and call formation data generated from UKBIC internal programmes only, with opportunities to leverage on data generated from a number of internal runs at UKBIC to support your innovation still retaining your intellectual property (IP)

You can use the UKBIC facility for:

  • trial novel mixing
  • coating
  • slitting and calendering
  • line-side and online gauging
  • measurement and visions systems across all call manufacturing processes

Note: the trials may be undertaken on UKBIC internal development runs, with opportunities for you to leverage on data generated from a number of internal runs at UKBIC to support your innovation whilst retaining your IP.

You can also focus on alternative materials or processes that will yield manufacturing energy reduction at scale, for example:

  • materials or processes, not equipment or monitoring, that reduce the need for very dry electrode handling environments
  • reduce electrode drying energy whilst maintaining electrode performance and characteristics

Eligibility

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £70,000 and £300,000
  • last between 3 and 9 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • start on by 1 July 2024
  • end by 31 March 2025

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

The majority of the costs for this grant funding must be subcontracting, of which UKBIC is the primary eligible subcontractor for this competition.

All other subcontractor costs above 10% of the value of the project, will be deemed ineligible.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

An SME can only submit one application.

Use of animals in research and innovation

Innovate UK expects and supports the provision and safeguarding of welfare standards for animals used in research and innovation, according to best practice and up to date guidance.

Applicants must ensure that all of the proposed work within projects, both that in the UK and internationally, will comply with the UKRI guidance on the use of animals in research and innovation.

Any projects selected for funding which involve animals will be asked to provide additional information on welfare and ethical considerations, as well as compliance with any relevant legislation as part of the project start-up process. This information will be reviewed before an award is made.

You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Exclusions

Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • are cells assembly, formation and testing without the electrode stage
  • are non-compatible materials, for example, lithium sulfur
  • are non-compatible solvents, currently only water and NMP based processes can be undertaken at UKBIC
  • are non-compatible cell formats, for example, 46xx, 18650 cylindrical calls and prismatic calls
  • are solid state battery processes
  • use technology which has not been proven at least TRL 4 to 5

Innovate UK cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Up to £1.5 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For your experimental development project you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to 45% as a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).

Note: only the costs for materials manufactured by the SME, used in the project, are eligible. This is where the total value of materials allowed is not more than 20% of the total project costs in this competition.

Material development at a suitable scale, at a third party location, can also be an eligible cost.

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.