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Centre for Battery Technology Opens at the University's Eden Campus

The University of St Andrews’ Colin Vincent Centre for Battery Technology officially opened on Wednesday, 4 October. The centre is working closely with other researchers and businesses to create new battery and fuel cell technologies. The facility specialises in developing and evaluating commercially viable sodium–ion batteries, which are essential for a transition to net–zero carbon methods of transportation and static power storage.

Of the new £4.7 million centre, Principal Sally Mapston said, “With its state-of-the-art facilities such as its ultra-low humidity environment – which is, of course, the first of its kind in Scotland – the Colin Vincent Centre for Battery Technology will power the next generation of batteries and energy storage.”

The centre is named after Professor Colin Vincent, an electrochemist who specialised in high energy batteries, who retired from the University in 2003. At the centre’s official opening, Professor Vincent said, “I would like to thank the University, the Principal and Professor Irvine for the signal honour of having my name associated with this centre, something which I find it difficult to imagine I deserve.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord, viewed the centre’s ‘dry lab’ earlier this February. He said “This dry lab is exactly the sort of facility that Scotland and the UK require to develop our future battery industry.”

The centre is one part of the University’s Eden Campus project at Guardbridge that, according to the University, aims to build “transformative infrastructure works” and “is a fundamental step to the realisation of the university’s broader plans to create hundreds of new, high-value jobs and bring smart, sustainable industry to this part of Scotland, founded on a low carbon future.”

The project received £24.5 million from the UK government and £2 million from the Scottish Government, the single largest investment ever secured by the university. The university bid for this funding in 2017 as a part of the Tay Cities Region Deal, which earmarked £300 million pounds for this and similar projects in Angus, Dundee, Perth, Kinross, and north-east Fife. The project also received funding from Scottish Enterprise, the Faraday Institution, the Scottish Funding Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

The new battery prototyping facility and Eden Campus at large mark significant contributions to the revitalisation of Guardbridge. Though Guardbridge lost 400 local jobs when the paper mill closed in 2009, Eden Campus now employs 500 people and this number is expected to double by 2030.

Image: University of St Andrews

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