Funding awarded to low-carbon supply chains projects

UK Research and Innovation has allocated £16.7 million to 10 projects aimed at developing the self-sufficiency of UK power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) supply chains.

supply chain
(Image: Ricardo UK)

The funding is intended to build the UK manufacturing base for PEMD components while creating jobs and protecting Britain from potential disruptions to its overseas supply chain.

Professor Will Drury, UKRI’s Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge director, said: “The coming electric revolution presents an opportunity to put the UK at the forefront of a burgeoning industry, creating manufacturing jobs and wealth across the country.

“By building a sovereign supply chain, we can ensure zero-emission technologies are truly zero-emissions, while both reducing supply chain disruption abroad and strengthening the UK’s position at the forefront of a fast-growing industry.”


A project led by Ricardo VK has developed a rare-earth magnet-free electric motor concept with aluminum stator windings, which retains the key characteristics of magnet-rich motors. The aim was to create technology that is robust, costs less than current products and reduces life cycle impact by using scarce resources – up to 12 kg of rare earths – as well as eliminating high acidification materials without affecting the motor function or affect quality. The project is expected to enable the UK to scale up engine production and move to electric transport, while mitigating the impact of change on international markets.

Other projects include plans to develop sovereign supply chains for the production of a range of PEMD components and products.

In addition to investing in innovation, £33 million of a total funding pool of £80 million will create a network of regional industrialization centers based on existing areas of expertise in Strathclyde, Sunderland, Nottingham and Newport.

In addition, £6m of funding from Driving the Electric Revolution will go towards training the workforce needed to support the UK’s high-tech green economy.

Approximately £11.3m of the total £16.7m funding will go to organizations in Wales, the West Midlands, Scotland, the North East of England and the East Midlands. Micro and small enterprises will receive £6.2 million, medium-sized enterprises £3.6 million and universities £2.5 million.

Marc Brand, Director of Business Development at Delivery design limitedsaid: “The future is electric for many sectors, and the UK can play a leading role, but only if companies of all sizes and in all parts of the country are involved. Funding the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge will help us to act as a large innovative integrated multinational, it enables us to bring together advanced simulation tools, high-quality production capability and development expertise to maximize new intellectual property in the UK.

“Without support, the interaction would be too risky and we would lose the collaboration, expertise and focus needed to create clear competitive advantages in this fast-growing niche.”

Zero-emission technologies, including electric cars and wind turbines, are the product of a carbon-intensive, pan-global supply chain. Through this process, a significant part of the reduced emissions is taken ‘off-shore’ in other countries, where the components and end products are manufactured. It is hoped that a low-carbon sovereign supply chain will enable the UK to achieve ‘true NetZero’.

Abhishek Maheswari
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