Automotive transformation fund boosts funding with Mpac Group plc and the UK battery industrialisation centre
Ilika Plc (LON:IKA), a leading innovator in solid-state battery technology, has exciting news regarding its Goliath pilot production capability. The company has secured additional grant support to facilitate the scaling-up of this capability, with funding provided by the Automotive Transformation Fund as part of a 16-month, £2.7 million collaborative program, wherein Ilika will receive £400,000. This collaboration, which commenced on October 1, 2023, involves key partners such as Mpac Group plc (LON:MPAC) and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (‘UKBIC’).
Mpac Group plc is a renowned global engineering and service provider specialising in automation and packaging solutions, particularly in Clean Energy sectors. Ilika and Mpac will closely collaborate to design, construct, and commission a cutting-edge 1.5 MWh solid-state battery (‘SSB’) assembly line. This assembly line will be capable of producing Ilika’s Goliath SSB prototype large-format pouch cells for automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. Anticipated to be fully operational at Ilika’s facility by the end of H1 2025, this SSB assembly line represents a significant step forward.
Situated in Coventry, UK, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between promising battery technology demonstrated at the laboratory or prototype scale and successful mass production. In the context of this collaboration, UKBIC will further the work initiated in the completed BUS100 program by conducting physical trials aimed at producing Ilika’s SSB electrodes on a gigawatt-hour (GWh) scale.
The Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) stands as a funding initiative designed to bolster large-scale industrialisation efforts. It commits up to £850 million to foster the development of a high-value, end-to-end electrified automotive supply chain in the UK. This fund aligns with the UK Government’s ambitions outlined in its 10-Point Plan for a green industrial revolution and the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, marking it as a crucial mechanism to achieve these targets.
This collaborative endeavor, known as Project SiSTEM, will run concurrently with Project HISTORY, which was unveiled on January 26, 2023. Project HISTORY focuses on the development of prototype automotive A-sample SSBs that will be manufactured at the expanded Ilika pilot facility.
Graeme Purdy, Ilika CEO, stated: “Project SiSTEM builds upon previous ATF support in Project BUS100 which found that with minor adaptations, Ilika’s electrodes could in principle be produced in volume on the UKBIC lines. Project SiSTEM will undertake those physical trials, proving Ilika’s technology can be successfully scaled. Our collaboration with Mpac will see the development of a scaled SSB assembly line which will be capable of delivering A-sample automotive pouch cells for testing in 2025. This is an important step in Ilika’s roadmap, enabling us to engage closer with OEMs as we start to deliver SSB cells into their test programmes.”
Julian Hetherington, Director of the Automotive Transformation Fund, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Ilika’s project seeking to validate higher-scale SSB manufacturing processes and which utilises the world-class facilities at UKBIC to demonstrate roll-to-roll coating of solid state materials. SSB technologies have the potential to be transformational in vehicle battery pack design due to their stable nature and open up applications possibilities at higher safe operating temperatures.”
Adam Holland, Chief Executive Officer at Mpac Group plc, expressed his enthusiasm: “We are thrilled to announce our new partnership with Ilika and UKBIC after the successful award of the prestigious ATF grant for Project SiSTEM. Mpac is a market leader in complex automation, and we are eager to leverage our expertise in developing a cutting-edge innovative solution that will enable the reliable assembly of solid state batteries. This project not only demonstrates our commitment to technological advancement but also aligns with the UK government’s vision for a cleaner and more sustainable world.”
Sean Gilgunn, Managing Director of UKBIC, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Ilika on trials to support the development of the Company’s solid state battery technology. Being able to scale up and demonstrate manufacturing innovation for battery technologies at UKBIC is a valuable resource for the UK’s growing battery sector.“
Ilika plc is at the forefront of solid-state battery development and commercialisation. Our core mission is to expedite the advancement of cutting-edge intellectual property (IP), along with the manufacturing and licensing of solid-state batteries. These innovative power sources cater to markets that conventional batteries struggle to serve due to concerns related to safety, charge rates, energy density, and lifespan limitations. Our unique approach utilises ceramic-based lithium-ion technology, which inherently prioritises safety throughout the production and usage stages, boasts higher thermal tolerance, and facilitates easier recycling. These qualities set our products apart from traditional batteries.
Ilika plc boasts two distinct product lines. First, we have Stereax batteries, meticulously crafted to power miniature medical implants, industrial wireless sensors, and technical Internet of Things (IoT) applications. These cutting-edge batteries are designed to meet the stringent demands of these industries. Additionally, our Goliath large-format batteries are tailored to the needs of electric vehicle (EV) cars and cordless appliances, showcasing our commitment to providing sustainable power solutions for a wide range of applications.