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Wales preferred location for Britishvolt’s battery gigafactory
** UPDATE – In December 2020 Britishvolt announced it would build its gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland – full story HERE. Original article below from 19th June 2020 **
Battery manufacturer Britishvolt has narrowed down the location for the UK’s first 30 plus GWh gigafactory from an initial 42 locations to just two, with Bro Tathan in South Wales leading the way.
The battery industry is forecast to be worth £5bn domestically by 2025, and the demand for lithium ion cells across a number of industries, including vehicle electrification, is already increasing dramatically. Not only is Britishvolt filling this gap in the market, but it is also moving to leverage the UK’s world-leading lithium ion battery research development and academic community to ensure the country retains a commercial and technical lead. The initial wave of £1.2bn of investment into the site will eventually lead to around 3,500 jobs.
The firm is also announcing plans to build a solar park alongside the factory, to support sustainable production of batteries and meet low carbon objectives, ensuring the firm plays a true and active part in the global green agenda.
Lars Carlstrom, CEO at Britishvolt, said: “We aim to deliver a scalable, onshore production and diverse portfolio of world-class lithium-ion batteries, to support the unprecedented transition to electrification – primarily servicing the automotive and energy storage markets. After six months of careful analysis, Bro Tathan is the preferred choice due to a number of different factors.
“The Welsh Government has welcomed us with open arms and impeccable due diligence, and the region meets crucial criteria including import/export accessibility, availability of labour and skilled staff, along with convenient geographical proximity to customers and local industrial companies.”
In May, BritishVolt and AMTE Power signed a memorandum of understanding focused on each other’s complementary ambitions to create and expand an onshore manufacturing supply chain. The firms aim is to establish the UK as the leading force in battery technology with a target product launch date of 2023. The Britishvolt gigaplant will be situated in 80+ hectares of green industrial park, with a production capacity of more the 30 GWh.
Lars added: “The sheer scale of this project means our gigafactory will have one of the top three largest single footprints in Europe. The plant will be one km long and 30 metres tall, needing 80 plus hectares of land, and the energy-intensive nature of producing lithium-ion cells means nearby renewable sources are of huge importance. Our ambition is to become one of the greenest battery producers worldwide, which will be facilitated through the creation of our very own solar park, ensuring a near carbon-neutral electricity input.”
The plant is expected to employ at least 3,500 people from the local area and will also create a local ecosystem of 10,000 to 15,000 further jobs for the wider supply chain – including material suppliers, contractors and local services.
Lars concluded: “By the third quarter of 2023, we plan for the first stage of our plant to be fully functional, and envision that between 40 and 60 per cent of the initial £1.2 billion of investment will be injected directly into the chosen community, representing a real catalyst for growth in the local economy and the UK.”