£3.8bn UK gigafactory receives funding

Article by Adam Duckett

THE UK Government has committed funding towards a huge £3.8bn (US$4.5bn) battery manufacturing plant that BritishVolt is building in Northumberland.

While the Government has not disclosed the amount it’s investing through its £850m Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), the BBC reports that the figure is around £100m. The “gigafactory” – a term used to describe a factory that supports the production of a very large number of batteries – built in on the site of an old coal-power plant. Once it reaches full capacity in 2027 it will employ 3,000 people and produce battery cells for more than 300,000 lithium-ion batteries per year.

The UK Government has set a target for the country to be net zero by 2050, and has banned the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The Blyth gigafactory will turbocharge our plans to embed a globally competitive electric vehicle supply chain in the UK, and it is fantastic to see how the project is progressing.”

Isobel Sheldon OBE, Chief Strategy Officer at BritishVolt, said: “While the overwhelming majority of investment for the project will come from private sources, the ATF’s grant funding is very important in proving that the UK Government is confident that we will deliver on our plans, and this will help to generate further private investment. It’s a clear indicator of the Government’s policy towards electrification of society.”

To improve the green credentials of its factory, BritishVolt plans to tap into local renewables projects to power its processes and has said it wants to ensure that processing materials have the highest level of utilisation and re-utilisation throughout the manufacturing process to manage processing costs and reduce waste. In July, it signed a deal with Chinese materials firm BTR to supply BritishVolt with anode materials produced using renewable power. In February it formed a joint venture with Glencore’s Britannia Refined Metals to recycle battery manufacturing scrap produced at Blyth that will be recycled at a new plant in nearby Northfleet that is set to begin operations in 2023.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

Recent Editions

Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.