The UK’s flagship battery gigafactory Britishvolt has selected Chinese synthetic graphite producer BTR to provide graphite and silicon oxide for anode materials.
The two companies signed an initial agreement today for anode materials to be used at selected phases of Britishvolt’s manufacturing processes. Britishvolt chose BTR because of its access to clean, renewable hydro-electric power and its plans to build a manufacturing footprint in Europe, it said.
Britishvolt has emphasised close supply chains and renewable power throughout its development, choosing a site near Blythe, Northumberland, to maximise access to renewable energy.
“Not only do we benefit from the technical expertise of BTR, now and in the future, but we also benefit from their global strategy concerning their manufacturing location and upstream material plans,” Britishvolt global chief operating officer Tim Orlob said.
The plant now has agreements in place for several key battery materials, including an agreement with Glencore for a portion of its cobalt requirements and a recent joint-venture agreement signed with Indonesia’s VTKR for nickel sulphate. As part of the VTKR agreement, the two companies will look into a battery gigafactory in Indonesia.
Indonesia is the world’s largest nickel producing country and there has been a wave of investment into projects in the country in recent years, although there are concerns over the environmental impact of Indonesian nickel projects, especially those using High Pressure Acid Leaching (HPAL) technology, which processes nickel laterite into chemicals used in batteries. The joint venture with VTKR is expected to move towards renewable energy, in line with Britishvolt’s ESG requirements.
Prices for 94pc graphite flake were assessed at $780-830/mt on 26 July, having fallen from $810-860/mt on 28 June on low demand in China.