Nuclear plant robots and batteries for electric planes get Government funding

Robots able to inspect and maintain nuclear power stations and next-generation batteries for electric vehicles and wind turbines are among the technologies being backed by new Government investment.

A £65 million investment as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is to be split among projects looking into battery development, robotic and advanced healthcare treatments.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said the Government wanted to put the UK “at the forefront of new technologies to create high-skilled jobs, increase productivity and grow the economy as we recover from coronavirus”.

Of the funding announced, nearly £44 million will be used to develop the next generation of high-performance batteries for electric vehicles, but also could be used for new tech such as electric aeroplanes.

The funds will also be used to complete a first-of-its-kind UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry, creating 100 high-skilled jobs.

Another £15 million of the investment will be used to enable universities, research organisations and other businesses develop and build robots for the inspection, maintenance and repair of nuclear power stations, satellites and wind turbines.

It is hoped an increase in the use of robotics can help address new problems resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, such as the need for social distancing, by creating more machines which can be controlled remotely.

A further £6.5 million in funding is to be allocated to three advanced therapy treatment centres across the UK to boost access to advanced therapies for the NHS.

It includes cell and gene-based therapies aimed at treating life-limiting and inherited diseases, such as cancer Duchenne muscular dystrophy or cystic fibrosis.

“This new funding will strengthen the UK’s global status in a range of areas, including battery technologies for electric vehicles and robotics, helping us develop innovative solutions to some of our biggest global challenges and creating jobs in rewarding careers right across the country,” Ms Solloway said.

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