£246 Million Battery Technology Investment To Be Launched By Business Secretary In Birmingham

The first phase of a £246 million Government investment into battery technology is being launched.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said the aim is to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.

Known as the Faraday Challenge, the four-year investment round is a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. It will deliver a programme of competitions that will aim to boost the research and development of battery technology.

Birmingham’s car industry and universities are engaged in research to make electric batteries more efficient, more compact and longer lasting to power our vehicles of the future and lessen the economy’s dependence on oil, as well as boost our economy.

The West Midlands has already launched a bid to open a national battery research centre in Coventry.

The minister will tell a meeting hosted by the Resolution Foundation at the University of Birmingham today: “To enjoy a high and rising standard of living we must plan to be more productive than in the past.

“Economists have pointed to what they have called a productivity puzzle in Britain. That we appear to generate less value for our efforts than, say, people in Germany or France.

“In other words, we have to work longer to get the same rewards.

“It’s not that we want – or need – people to work longer hours. It’s that we need to ensure that we find and seize opportunities to work more productively as a country, as cities and regions, as businesses and as individuals.”

“If we can do so, we can increase the earning power of our country and our people.”

Mr Clark said there had been an “extraordinary” reaction to a Green Paper on the Industrial Strategy, with over 1,900 written responses, from new start-ups to big businesses and from organisations as diverse as the Premier League to the Women’s Engineering Society.

The Farday Challenge

Mr Clark says the investment will begin by bringing together the UK’s best minds and facilities to create a Battery Institute.

He says: ” The most promising research completed by the Institute will be moved closer to the market through industrial collaborations led by Innovate UK.

“And the Advanced Propulsion Centre will work with the automotive sector to identify the best proposition for a new state-of-the-art open access National Battery Manufacturing Development facility.

“The work that we do through the Faraday Challenge will – quite literally – power the automotive and energy revolution where, already, the UK is leading the world.”

The Faraday Challenge’s competitions are divided into three streams – research, innovation and scale-up – designed to drive a step-change in translating the UK’s world-leading research into market-ready technology that ensures economic success for the UK:

Research: To support world class research and training in battery materials, technologies and manufacturing processes, the Government has opened a £45m competition, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to bring the best minds and facilities together to create a virtual Battery Institute. The successful consortium of universities will be responsible for undertaking research looking to address the key industrial challenges in this area.

Innovation: The most promising research completed by the Institute will be moved closer to the market through collaborative research and development competitions, led by Innovate UK. The initial competitions will build on the best of current world-leading science already happening in the UK and helping make the technology more accessible for UK businesses. ‘

Scale-up: To further develop the real-world use and application of battery technology the Government has opened a competition, led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, to identify the best proposition for a new state-of-the-art open access National Battery Manufacturing Development facility.

Source Article

Neighborhood Voices: Crestline

Hunter Williams speaks about the recent wave of crime in his area, and what he would like to see done about it.

Image courtesy of Google Maps.

Weld’s “Neighborhood Voices” series features interviews with the presidents of each of Birmingham’s 99 neighborhood associations about the strengths and challenges facing their communities. If you are a neighborhood leader and would like your neighborhood to be included, you can reach out to us at sam@weldbham.com.

The Crestline neighborhood sits east of Birmingham as a suburb of Mountain Brook, just south of Interstate 20 and Montclair Road and north of Old Leeds Road. Crestline borders the city of Mountain Brook and Birmingham’s Eastwood neighborhood. According to the Birmingham Housing Survey, the population of Crestline is 3,154. Parts of the neighborhood are represented by District 2’s Kim Rafferty and District 3’s Valerie Abbott.

Last week, Crestline Neighborhood President Hunter Williams spoke with Weld about concerns over crime and having all neighborhoods treated equally by city leaders.

Weld: Why did you decide to become your neighborhood’s president?

Hunter Williams: I wanted to become more involved. I think that there is a lot of momentum in Birmingham right now, and at the same time there is a lot that needs improving with our city. Instead of being on the sidelines, being neighborhood president was a good way that I could help contribute to fixing some of the issues we have locally.

Weld: How would you characterize the community involvement among members of your neighborhood?

Hunter Williams: Crestline is a very involved neighborhood. Most residents know each other and look after each other, probably more so now than ever with the large increase of crime our area has been experiencing.

Weld: What are some of the biggest problems facing your neighborhood?

Williams: Our number one issue in our neighborhood is crime. Burglaries, auto thefts, et cetera, are becoming commonplace. We would like to see more police presence in Crestline to help deter the increase in crime.

Weld: What are some other ways in which you’d like to see your neighborhood improve?

Williams: We would like to see the mayor’s office and the city council give our neighborhood the same resources they give other neighborhoods. We need sidewalks in certain high-pedestrian-trafficked areas, as well as street re-paving throughout the entire neighborhood. Initiatives like Operation Greenwave have taken services away from our area. If you drive through Crestline, all of the right-of-ways and public property need to be cut and have not been for a long time.

Weld: In what ways do you think the Birmingham city government could help your neighborhood improve and flourish?

Williams: The city of Birmingham could allocate public safety resources and tax dollars to our area. We understand that the growth of our city center is important to the city as a whole and benefits our neighborhood. However, it is also important that the city does not neglect any of the 99 neighborhoods.

Weld: What do you want Birmingham citizens outside of your neighborhood to know about your neighborhood?

Williams: Crestline is a great neighborhood for anyone looking to move. Property values have been steadily increasing over the past years, and people are always moving into the area. The people are always nice and welcoming, and it is convenient to grocery stores and several restaurants.

Source Article

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Flood Warning Issued for Wake, Durham and Johnston Counties

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Durham, Wake, Johnston, Wayne and Sampson counties through 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, as rain continues to fall on saturated ground.

Upwards of two inches has fallen since mid-morning Tuesday, and another one to two inches are possible in those counties, according to the weather service. The rain will quickly run-off, causing creeks and streams to overflow their banks, the weather service said.

The rain is expected to continue into Tuesday morning before tapering off as the weather system working its way up from the south moves out and the sun shines again on Wednesday. Up to 6 inches could fall in parts of central North Carolina before the storm is all over, according to the weather service.

If the forecast is correct, it would be the most rain central North Carolina has seen since Hurricane Matthew last fall, far surpassing the 1.93 inches of rain recorded at Raleigh-Durham International Airport the first three days of January.

“We haven’t surpassed that 1.93 at the airport yet,” said meteorologist Barrett Smith said Monday morning. “But it could end up being the largest since Matthew. If not, our forecast is pretty bad.”

But people shouldn’t expect the same level of flooding as when Matthew swept through, Smith said.

“It’s not comparable in that sense,” he said. “But we’re still cautioning that there will be some flash flooding and some roads covered in water.”

Thunderstorms are expected Tuesday morning followed by more rain and then more thunderstorms after 3 p.m.

A flood watch continues for central North Carolina through Tuesday morning, and forecasters said to expect flooding in streams and creeks and standing water on roads. Rivers will rise “significantly,” but the weather service predicted only minor flooding along their banks.

The Haw River is expected to crest at Bynum on Tuesday afternoon, while the Tar River should crest at Louisburg on Wednesday afternoon and on Friday evening in Tarboro, according to National Weather Service forecasts.

[Heavy storms leave thousands without power in North Carolina]

Some areas outside the Triangle could get as much as 5 inches before the rain eases up and ends by Wednesday morning.

Source: National Weather Service

Power outages

The storm caused power outages to thousands of Duke Energy customers in North Carolina on Monday.

More than 48,000 of those customers were in Charlotte, which had received as much as 4 inches of rain by Monday morning.

More than 2,250 customers were without power in Durham near the Northgate Mall on Monday morning after downed trees or limbs damaged electrical equipment. About 500 more were without power in Cary and east Raleigh on Monday.

Related stories from The News & Observer
Area gets heavy rain, but no major flood
The sights and sounds of a rainy day in the Old North State

Other major outages were reported in the Winston-Salem area and Cabarrus County.

Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett

Durham Students Learn the Dangers of Texting While Driving

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — John Batey virtually died in a car accident Monday.
It was part of a texting while driving simulator that students at Hillside High School in Durham participated in Monday.
“It’s like interesting how I was able to actually see, because I’ve never been in an accident before, so to see what it’s like actually being in an accident,” said the senior.
Batey looked down at his phone several times during the simulation. It was an easy distraction, he said.
“It was just the noise that was kind of distracting me,” he said. “Every time it rang, I wanted to see what it was, but I knew I was driving so I couldn’t. “
In 2016, 177 people died in crashes in North Carolina that involved a distracted driver, state officials said. That’s a 9 percent increase from 2015.
When distracted driving does claim a life, high school officials are left trying to heal the community.
“To help heal a learning community when we find ourselves in situations like what’s presented behind us, where a student has lost his or her life,” said Hillsdale principal William Logan.
When Batey is in the car, he puts his phone in do-not-disturb mode, only allowing emergency calls.
“My mom, her phone call will come through, but like everything else, I don’t want a distraction because I’m driving and I value my life,” he said.
He also took a pledge not to text and drive.
If you’d like to learn more about the pledge or sign it, click here.
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