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Battery cell start-up set to scale up to bring innovative ideas to industry

April 6, 2022

Battery cell start-up set to scale up to bring innovative ideas to industry

A battery start-up company drawing on nanotechnology and biotechnology to create greener batteries is set to expand its team and take the next step in turning its innovative ideas into reality.

Global Nano Network (GNN), based at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Venture Centre, made the move to its current site in January 2021 after starting in a make-shift lab in Costa Rica in 2017.

The company mission is to develop greener battery components that can replace the limited raw materials contained in conventional batteries, such as nickel and cobalt, and improve the overall performance of lithium-ion batteries.

The innovations have a broad range of applications such as electric vehicles, heavy machinery, and mobile phones, and can be adapted to work in many other practical applications.

GNN’s idea is to use its previous expertise in nanotechnology – technology on an incredibly small scale – to incorporate new materials into batteries to improve their life and recyclability.

And thanks to support from the Business Ready programme and further advice from Coventry City Council, GNN is almost ready to take the next step in the business’s evolution after accessing several grants.

Business Ready delivers support to expanding businesses managed by the business support team at the?University of Warwick Science Park and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme.

And, should a further InnovateUK grant application be successful, GNN will not only be able to expand its team, but will increase its technology readiness level (TRL) and manufacturing readiness level (MRL) – meaning its components will be further proven and therefore closer to being adopted by various industries.

Ravi Daswani, CEO of GNN, said: “Business Ready had been in touch with us way before we moved to the Science Park, and continued to advise us when we arrived at the Venture Centre.

“I was initially introduced to Ian McFarlane-Toms, who was fantastic. He gave us advice on the funding landscape across the county and country and ensuring we had a good relationship with the University of Warwick.

“Ian also managed to find an accounting firm from the region which shared our start-up partnership mindset, who we still retain today.

“Business Ready’s early advice was so important because it reassured us that there is a network of people outside our organisation that are prepared to help us achieve our goals, and our integration with Warwick Manufacturing Group was crucial to us as well and meant we were able to use the expertise and facilities to test our batteries and generate data to help us to consistently improve.

“Finally, Business Ready were able to offer invaluable advice around applying for grants and point us to the right organisations – such as Coventry City Council.

“Should our InnovateUK application come through, we’ll be able to expand our team and develop our technology even further, which is just fantastic. I feel very fortunate to be in the position we are and to have that support from Business Ready and the public sector too.”

The council helped GNN access an ERDF Innovation Grant, and an ERDF capital asset grant allowing for the purchase of equipment for its laboratory.

Ian McFarlane Toms, of Business Ready, said: “When Global Nano Network moved to the Science Park from Costa Rica, it was an ambitious start-up that just needed a bit of guidance to move it in the right direction.

“The firm has progressed rapidly in the time they have been here, and it’s brilliant that they are close to expanding thanks to the grants they have accessed, and their proximity to world class facilities such as WMG. The technology GNN is developing is revolutionary, and we will do all we can to support them on that journey.”

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change at Coventry City Council, said: “Organisations moving to the city has a very positive impact on our local economy, creating jobs and providing opportunities for growth, and I’m always happy to hear that our support has helped a business grow and develop.

“Especially when it’s an organisation like GNN that has such a strong focus on innovation and developing greener technologies which are better for the environment.”

Cllr Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Economy and Place, said: “It’s great news that through the Business Ready Programme that is part-funded by this council, we are able to support forward-thinking and innovative businesses such as Global Nano Network to thrive and grow.

“We are fortunate that our region is already a standard-bearer of new and emergent technology and innovation and the continued success of GNN is the very latest example of that fact.”


Notes to editors:

The CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale project is receiving up to £2.6m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding