A NORTHUMBERLAND tech firm has teamed up with industry giant Caterpillar on a £2.8m clean energy project. Cleantech engineering firm Avid Technology, based in Cramlington, will work with Caterpillar UK and Imperial College London to develop a new battery storage system for electric machinery.

Caterpillar and AVID Technology alliance in the JournalPart-funded by Innovate UK’s Faraday Challenge Industrial Strategy Fund, the project will see the consortium working together to significantly improve battery life.

The overall aim is to create an advanced battery system capable of meeting the life cycle and load demands of a heavy-duty electric or hybrid vehicle, while still delivering the high levels of energy density required. Avid’s core expertise lies in the design of power electronics and motors used in electric propulsion systems for the electric and hybrid vehicle industry, robotics, and aerospace sectors.

To meet increasing demand for automotive electronics and powertrain technology, the firm has invested more than £2m in its Cramlington HQ since 2017, extending its range of services and expanding its research and manufacturing capabilities.

Ryan Maughan, managing director, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Caterpillar and Imperial College London on this research and development project.

“In recent years there have been major advances in energy storage driven in part by the boom in the automotive sector for electric and hybrid passenger cars. This has resulted in huge improvements in energy density and, crucially, cost. “However the emissions and environmental impact of heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks, buses, and construction machinery are far greater due to the high operating hours and power factors required.

“This means there is huge potential for the design and manufacture of electrification systems to improve the situation. But it also presents several challenges in delivering electric vehicle drivetrains that are robust enough and able to deliver the performance required.

“By working in collaboration with Caterpillar and Imperial College London, we have the potential to make a real impact at the cutting edge of innovation in battery technology in the UK.”

Dr. Gregory Offer from Imperial College London said: “We are excited to be working with Caterpillar and Avid Technology on developing the next generation of advanced battery packs for industrial machinery and heavy-duty on-road vehicles.

“The project will bring together multiple innovative ideas to deliver a step change in performance and cost for these aggressive applications, helping to develop the UK supply chain and create a world-class battery industry in the UK.”


Author: Coreena Ford
Publication: The Journal / Chronicle
Date: 28th July 2018