FluoRok awarded £750k grant by UKRI’s Faraday Battery Challenge

New ARC Oxford member, FluoRok, a deep-tech start-up company developing revolutionary processes to access fluorochemicals in an efficient, safe, clean and sustainable way, has been awarded a feasibility study grant of £750,000 by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) via its Faraday Battery Challenge to scale up its disruptive chemical processes.

Developing a robust and reliable lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery supply chain is key to meeting our net-zero targets and strengthening the role of the UK in leading the energy transition. The grant, delivered by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, aims to accelerate the development and commercialisation of state-of-the-art battery technologies and support growth of the UK supply chain for the battery sector.

FluoRok’s CEO, Dr Gabriele Pupo said, “This is yet another step in FluoRok’s path to reinventing a safer and greener process for the way key fluorochemicals such as Li-Ion battery electrolyte salts are manufactured. This grant will provide a strong acceleration towards industrialisation of our technology in the battery sector and further support the UK in meeting its ambitious net-zero targets.”

In partnership with globally renowned deep tech innovation centre CPI and experts in Li-Ion battery technology at WMG at the University of Warwick, the project will focus on scaling up FluoRok’s novel process for the HF-free manufacture of electrolyte salts (LiPF6 and LiFSI). These fluorine-containing materials are key components in Li-Ion batteries yet are almost entirely manufactured in Asia Pacific via a hazardous and unsustainable process based on the highly toxic chemical, hydrogen fluoride (HF). This project will enable FluoRok and CPI to scale-up HF-free technology towards a pilot plant, while WMG’s electrolyte testing in Li-Ion batteries will ensure the required quality standards for mass adoption.

Dr Andrew D. Schwarz, FluoRok’s Business Development Director said, “FluoRok’s central aim is to work with the fluorochemical industry to develop cost competitive, localised and sustainable supply chains in critical fluorochemicals. FluoRok is proud to be working with CPI, WMG and Innovate UK to achieve these goals. We passionately believe that our technology is a crucial enabler to net-zero and a unique way to introduce a cyclic economy in fluorochemical manufacturing.”

Dr Keri Goodwin, Chief Technologist at CPI said, “At CPI we’re committed to making bright ideas a reality and we can’t wait to start work on this exciting project. Scaling up novel and sustainable processes for battery materials will be crucial as we look to cement the UK’s supply chain in battery manufacturing. Projects like these have the potential not just to revolutionise the way industries can operate sustainably, but they are part of a bigger picture to eventually provide highly skilled, highly paid jobs for the communities they serve.”

The Faraday Institution based at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, (part of the ARC Network), is a key delivery partner of the Faraday Battery Challenge, which represents a UK Government investment of £541 million between 2017 and 2025. The challenge aims to support a world-class scientific, technology development and manufacturing scale-up capability for batteries in the UK. The challenge is focused on developing cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe and recyclable batteries to capture a growing market.