Britishvolt moves battery gigafactory plan to Northumberland

Britishvolt moves battery gigafactory plan to Northumberland

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The company hopes to raise $2.6bn to build the lithium ion battery gigafactory with production by the end of 2023, well behind other European plants. The new site brings benefits for using renewable energy from offshore wind farms and hydroelectric energy from Norway via an undersea power cable.

Panasonic is looking at building a plant in Norway to make use of hydroelectric energy.

Britishvolt has also announced it will build its headquarters in the west Midlands close to a number of automotive suppliers.

The gigafactory in Blyth will be on the site of a former power station and Britishvolt plans to start construction in the summer of 2021. The £2.6bn investment would be the largest industrial investment in the North East since Nissan’s arrival in 1984 and one of the largest-ever industrial investments in the UK. By the final phase of the project in 2027 the company says it will employ up to 3000 staff and produce 300,000 lithium-ion batteries for the UK automotive industry.

“Now we can really start the hard work and begin producing lithium-ion batteries for future electrified vehicles in just three years,” said Orral Nadjari, CEO of Britishvolt. “It is crucial for the UK automotive industry and for the entire economy that we are able to power the future. The sooner we start, the better.

“Blyth meets all of our exacting requirements and could be tailor made. It is on the doorstep of major transport links, easily accessible renewable energy and the opportunity for a co-located supply chain, meets our target to make our gigaplant the world’s cleanest and greenest battery facility,” he said.

The planned headquarters will be based at the MIRA Technology Park Campus near Coventry, which also houses 35 OEMs and Tier 1 automotive suppliers as well as 40 test facilities. Horiba MIRA has a key capability in battery development, enabling end-to-end engineering and test solutions for cell, modules and complete battery packs. The underlying technology for the Britishvolt plans comes from AMTE Power in Scotland, although customer deals may well change this.

 “A new global headquarters in the West Midlands marks a crucial step for Britishvolt,” said Nadjari. “The battery industry is constantly evolving and it’s important that we stay ahead to position the UK at the forefront of the global battery industry. With further development being planned it is in the right place to take advantage of world-class talent. We intend to produce world-class batteries, which are strategically important both for the future of the UK automotive industry and the future strength of the entire UK economy. We are hoping to start working closely with local government to help make our additional plans for future development a certainty.”

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