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University of Southampton Receives £3.3m EPSRC Grant to Develop Advanced Composite Materials

The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), one of the UK’s primary knowledge-based networks for Micro and Nanotechnologies, is pleased to announce an EPSRC award of a £3.3m grant to the University of Southampton for the development and manufacture of advanced composite materials.

The grant will be managed by the Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University, Professor Brian Hayden, who is also a founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Ilika plc (AIM: IKA).

The grant covers investment in capital equipment designed for the fabrication of pre-production quantities of devices including solid-state batteries. The equipment will allow the novel battery chemistries identified by Ilika’s high throughput methods to be applied on a larger scale suitable for technology transfer into full-scale manufacturing processes. The facility will be unique in the UK, and perhaps worldwide, and will represent an important advance in establishing an effective manufacturing process for solid-state devices.

In 2010, the NanoKTN’s Nano4Energy focus group, of which Ilika is an active member, drafted industry consultation reports summarising the need for a UK-based Energy Storage R&D programme. These reports have assisted in the funding of the Warwick Manufacturing Centre’s £13m UK Energy storage facility launched last year and now the EPSRC grant award to the University of Southampton for the development and manufacture of advanced composite materials.

Graeme Purdy, CEO of Ilika, comments, "The NanoKTN has been a consistent supporter of Ilika's technology since the formation of the company. We have been working closely with the NanoKTN’s Nano4Energy focus group to promote the growing importance of the UK’s electrical energy storage devices market and believe that the findings of this focus group have positively influenced government's understanding and appreciation of this important area. This grant award by the EPSRC is a translation of that same ethos into a direct investment. The award of this grant provides the University, Ilika and the UK with a unique scale-up facility with the ability to translate lab-scale innovation into prototype devices capable of generating significant commercial impact.”

Dr Martin Kemp, Theme Manager at the NanoKTN and lead on the Nano4Energy focus group commented, “The NanoKTN has worked closely with Ilika since its spinout from the University of Southampton in 2004 and we are naturally proud of the positive contribution that we have made to the success of the company to date. We have been working with key UK industry players to identify new industries and markets for UK companies. Electrical energy storage devices represent a key growth market needing performance improvements, and these are increasingly dependent on nanotechnology. Working with our UK partners, we hope to assist the pull through to commercialisation of nanotechnology applications to further drive UK clean energy manufacturing success. This new facility will significantly broaden the UK's scale-up capabilities for energy storage devices.”

For further information about the NanoKTN, please visit or email [email protected].

Established by the Technology Strategy Board, the NanoKTN is managed by Centre for Process Innovation Ltd, a leading technology development and consulting company.

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