Vertical Aerospace (Vertical) a global aerospace and technology company that is pioneering zero-emissions aviation, has reported another significant UK investment and innovation milestone with the opening of the Vertical Energy Centre (VEC), believed to be the UK’s most advanced aerospace battery facility, based in Bristol.
The multi-million-pound state-of-the-art, 15,000 ft² facility, is one of the only dedicated aerospace battery facilities in the UK. It is home to Vertical’s current 50-strong battery team – drawn from the likes of McLaren, the European Space Agency, Jaguar Land Rover, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Dyson – who are developing proprietary battery technology that is enabling greater power-to-weight ratios for eVTOL flights.
These frontier technologies are expected to transform what has been possible with battery technology to date. Vertical announced last year its strategic partnership with Molicel, which combines Vertical’s proprietary battery pack design with Molicel’s leading cell technology. Vertical has already conducted significant cell testing at the VEC for use in its battery pack modules. Operational ramp-up of Vertical’s battery manufacturing machinery has begun by assembling the first in-house developed prototype battery modules in the facility.
Vertical’s battery systems have undergone a wide range of testing, including temperature, conducted emissions, vibration, thermal durability and characterisation, propagation and drop testing at the VEC. Vertical has previously had significant progress with battery tests, having carried out crash and thermal runaway testing under European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority supervision. Vertical’s expertise on batteries is recognised by the industry with its Head of Powertrain, Dr Limhi Somerville, chairing the eVTOL EuroCAE electrical certification group, the group that is defining the battery standards for electric aviation with EASA.