The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, Chaired by Lord Patel, is conducting an inquiry into the role of battery and fuel cell technologies in achieving the UK’s ambition to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The deadline for receiving written submissions is Monday 29 March 2021.
Electrification will be crucial to achieving Net Zero, and battery and fuel cell technologies will be needed to support electrification, particularly in the land transport sector. Under the Climate Change Committee’s Balanced Net Zero Pathway, the number of battery-electric vehicles in the UK will need to increase from around 5% of current sales to 100% by 2032 at the latest. This will require considerable scaling up of the manufacture of batteries and deployment of charging infrastructure, as well as advances in the energy density, capacity and charging times of battery systems, in parallel with further cost reductions. For heavy transport such as HGVs and trains, batteries and hydrogen fuel cells could also have an important role to play if some of these technical challenges can be overcome.
The Committee also seeks to understand the potential role for battery and fuel cell technologies in other sectors (for example aviation, agricultural machinery, heat production), and will consider how these technologies will interact with the wider energy system (for example, the use of batteries as energy storage on the electricity grid).
The Committee is seeking evidence on the following questions (there is no requirement to answer all questions in your submission):
1.To what extent are battery and fuel cell technologies currently contributing to decarbonisation efforts in the UK?
2.What advances have been made in battery and fuel cell technologies in recent years and what changes can we expect in the next ten years (for example, in terms of energy density, capacity, charging times, lifetimes and cost reduction)?
3.What are the opportunities and challenges associated with scaling up the manufacture of batteries and fuel cells, and for manufacturing batteries and fuel cells for a greater number and variety of applications? Is the UK well placed to become a leader in battery and fuel cell manufacture?
4.Is the right strategy, funding and support in place to enable the research, innovation and commercialisation of battery and fuel cell technologies in the UK?
5.Which countries are currently the leaders in battery and/or fuel cell science and technology and where, if anywhere, does the UK have a lead or other advantages?
6.In what sectors could battery and fuel cell technologies play a significant role?
7.How should battery and fuel cell technologies be integrated into the wider UK energy system, and what are the challenges associated with integration (e.g. infrastructure, deployment, system operation, regulatory frameworks)?
8.What are the life cycle environmental impacts associated with batteries and fuel cells (e.g. in resource extraction, product manufacture, operation, reuse and recycling), and how can these be managed as production and usage increase?
9.What are the costs and benefits of using battery and fuel cell technologies in their various applications, including when integrated into the wider energy system?
3 March 2021