Foreign Secretary visits Scotland to meet British scientists behind ‘revolutionary new batteries of the future’

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Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visits the Technology and Innovation Centre at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly met with scientists and engineers developing revolutionary battery technologies in Glasgow – a year on from world leaders gathering in the city for the COP26 climate summit.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is supporting the Faraday Institution and researchers from the University of Strathclyde and the University of St Andrews, through its Transforming Energy Access (TEA) programme to help offer lower cost, more recyclable battery technology to developing countries.

The UK government announced £126 million of new scale-up funding for TEA during Energy Day at COP26 – focused on reducing carbon emissions by 2.5 million tonnes and securing better access to clean energy for 25 million people.

Since TEA was launched in 2015, it has provided 16 million of the world’s poorest people with improved access to clean energy and generated 96,000 green jobs.

The Foreign Secretary also visited the FCDO’s joint HQ at Abercrombie House, in East Kilbride, where almost 1,000 staff are at the heart of shaping and delivering UK foreign policy on issues such as climate change, including through the TEA programme.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

Today’s visit is hugely important for me, to see first-hand how people in Scotland are building on the legacy of the UK’s COP Presidency in Glasgow to make progress in the fight against climate change.

Scotland is famous as an innovation superpower. It has given the world the television, telephone and penicillin, so it was wonderful to learn how Scottish scientists are continuing this rich tradition to develop the revolutionary new batteries of the future fuelled by cleaner energy.

The UK government is proud to support vital work at the universities of Strathclyde and St Andrews which will help developing countries to access battery technologies to drive green growth and give millions a ladder out of poverty.

Nearly a tenth of the world’s population – 733 million people – do not have access to the electricity they need to light their homes, refrigerate their food, or keep cool in rising temperatures. Around 2.4 billion people rely on dirty biomass fuels such as charcoal, firewood, or animal waste for cooking.

The Foreign Secretary used his COP26 anniversary visit to witness the start of refurbishment work at the FCDO’s joint HQ in East Kilbride.

The Foreign Secretary was shown a research project led by the University of Strathclyde, which is developing a low-cost battery which is expected to last longer and be more easily recycled.

St Andrews demonstrated battery technology made from common salt, which could enable a move away from materials such as lithium and cobalt which are more expensive, rarer and harder on the environment to source.

Both technologies are expected to be ready to test this year.

Photo licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

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