This is a past event. For more events from the Ri, check out What's on

The battery – inside out

What is a battery? How were they invented? Found out everything you ever wanted to know about portable power in this event supported by the Faraday Institution.

Brill Power

Event description

What is a battery? How were they invented? How does a modern battery work? What materials go into the latest batteries? What are the geopolitical issues around sourcing materials from different countries? How can battery manufacture become more sustainable? These questions and many more will be answered by our panel of experts, chaired by Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and featuring Serena Corr from the University of Sheffield, Managing Director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Simon MooresDavid Greenwood of Warwick Manufacturing Group and Judith Richardson, Global Purchasing Director of Jaguar Land Rover in this event supported by the Faraday Institution.

This event is part of a three-part series entitled 'The Batteries are Coming!'. Save the dates of future events:

  • How will batteries change our world? 13 June 2019
  • The future of mobility. 10 September 2019.

More information on these events will be available soon.

About the speakers

Sir Patrick Vallance is Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) and Head of the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) profession. His personal research was in the area of diseases of blood vessels and endothelial biology.

Sir Patrick was President, R&D at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) from 2012 until 2017. Prior to this, he was Senior Vice President, Medicines Discovery and Development. He joined the company in May 2006 as Head of Drug Discovery. He was a member of the GSK Board and the Corporate Executive Team. During his period as head of R&D over 14 new medicines were approved for use worldwide, for diseases ranging from cancer to asthma and HIV.

Prior to joining GSK, he was a clinical academic, Professor of Medicine and led the Division of Medicine at UCL. He has over 20 years’ experience of basic and clinical research, and was a consultant physician in the NHS. His research spanned from work on medicinal chemistry and structural biology, through to cellular work, studies in humans and use of large electronic health record databases.

He was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999 and to the Royal Society in 2017. He was on the Board of the UK Office for Strategic Co-ordination of Health Research (OSCHR) from 2009 to 2016. He is an Honorary Fellow at UCL and holds honorary degrees from Imperial College London, Glasgow University, University of York and St George’s, University of London. He was a non-executive director and board member for UK Biobank and a non-executive board member for Genome Research Limited but stepped down in taking up the GCSA role.

Serena Corr obtained her BA (2002) and PhD (2007) in Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin. She completed her PhD work on New Magnetic Nanostructured Materials with Professor Yurii Gun’ko, where she developed new magnetic materials for biomedical applications. In 2007, she began working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Materials Research Laboratory with Professor Ram Seshadri at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she studied metal-insulator transitions in vanadates. After a lectureship at the University of Kent, Serena joined the School of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow as a lecturer in Physical Chemistry in 2013, was promoted to Reader in 2016 and made Professor and Chair of Energy Materials in 2018. In October 2018, she joined the University of Sheffield as Professor and Chair in Functional Nanomaterials, as a joint appointment between the Departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. Her research focuses on the design, synthesis and characterization of functional nanomaterials in particular for applications in energy storage, with an emphasis on understanding their intimate structure-property interplay. She is associate editor of the RSC journals Nanoscale and Nanoscale Advances, IOP journal Progress in Energy and sits on the editorial boards of Chemistry of Materials and Nanoscale Horizons. She was Theme Coordinator for Energy Conversion and Storage for the Scottish Energy Technology Partnership until 2018 and is a member of the Supergen Energy Storage Hub and Science board.  Serena also serves on the scientific and organising committees for a number of conferences (including the UK Energy Storage conference 2016; ISACS: Challenges in Inorganic Chemistry 2017;  16th European Solid State meeting 2017). Serena was appointed to the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Committee in 2017, a post she will hold for three years. She has published over 50 refereed publications, including five invited book chapters. She was awarded the 2017 Royal Society of Chemistry’s Journal of Materials Chemistry Lectureship. She is married to Eddie and they are parents to two boys.

Simon Moores is Managing Director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a price assessment and market advisory company for lithium ion batteries and energy storage supply chains. Benchmark is most famous for setting the lithium industry's reference price but also collects data on cobalt, graphite and nickel battery raw materials, cathodes, anodes and lithium ion battery capacity. Simon is one of the world’s leading voices in this space and has specialised in the commercialisation of lithium ion batteries since 2006. He has twice testified to the US Senate, spoken at University of Oxford and Stanford University, and advises the major actors in the supply chain.

David Greenwood leads the Advanced Propulsion Systems team at WMG which covers a wide remit of related areas within Energy Storage (Battery Systems); Energy Conversion (Electric Machines; Power Electronics); and Energy Management. He leads WMG's activities as the Advanced Propulsion Centre's Electrical Energy Storage Spoke, and also provides academic leadership for the development of R&D activities within the National Automotive Innovation Centre.

Professor Greenwood is a Board Member at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and a member of the Automotive Council Technology Group. He is also a member of the EPSRC's Energy Scientific Advisory Committee and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Advisory Board.

Professor Greenwood joined WMG in 2014 from Ricardo UK Ltd where he was Head of Hybrid and Electric Systems, leading advanced technology projects in passenger cars, defence, motorsport and the clean energy markets. Strategic projects at Ricardo included the preparation of automotive industry technology roadmaps and research priorities for the NAIGT (New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team), TSB and Automotive Council.Judith Richardson joined Jaguar Land Rover in June 2018 as Global Purchasing Director, Electrical Propulsion. Prior to Jaguar Land Rover, Judith worked with Nissan Europe for 25 years, latterly as Vice President, Purchasing for four years, after successful roles as Purchasing Manager and Purchasing General Manager working in Sunderland, Barcelona and Paris.

Judith grew up in Aberdovey, on the west coast of Wales.  After leaving school, Judith studied Geography at Manchester University achieving a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors. Judith is married and has two young sons.



The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm.

Latecomers will be admitted to the gallery.


The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email:

Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing

Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop.