Battery manufacturer Britishvolt Ltd. today announces the down selection of two promising sites for the UK’s first 30 plus GWh gigafactory, from an initial 42 locations, with Bro Tathan in South Wales leading the way.
The battery industry is forecast to be worth £5 billion domestically by 2025, and the demand for lithium ion cells across a number of industries, including vehicle electrification, is already increasing dramatically, and risks becoming constrained as the UK Government strives to meet its Road to Zero targets by 2050. Not only is Britishvolt filling this gap in the market, but 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 £1.2 billion 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 comments: “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 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.
Lars continues: 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.
Lars concludes: Our state of the art and high efficiency gigaplant will employ at least 3,500 local Welsh people. These will be across a wide range of disciplines and will create a local ecosystem of 10,000 to 15,000 further jobs for the wider supply chain – including material suppliers, contractors and local services. 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.”
The Welsh Government said: “We have been working with Britishvolt on this project for a significant period of time and we are very pleased they have shortlisted Bro Tathan as a location for its landmark gigafactory. We firmly believe that Bro Tathan provides a compelling case, particularly for a company looking to become one of the greenest battery producers worldwide.”
Tim Williams, from the Welsh Automotive Industry, said the proposal was “excellent news for Wales”. If this comes off, and hopefully it will, then we’re talking about 3,500 new jobs directly and probably a multiplier of two in the supply chain,” he said. The Welsh Government need to be as bold as they possibly can be. This is such a huge investment, such a big number of jobs and the Welsh Government over many years has had a very, very successful record in bringing in large projects.”
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said it was “fantastic that we can talk about Wales as being a leading contender” for the UK’s first gigafactory.
Britishvolt has identified the United Kingdom as the potential location for its first GigaPlant. The United Kingdom is the most vibrant and progressive country for industry investments. It is where both history and the future combine to create a new era. Britishvolt is dedicated to supporting sustainable energy storage by producing high performance lithium ion batteries. Our aim is to establish the United Kingdom 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 up to 35 GWH. Britishvolt will be a global leader in producing high performance green lithium Ion batteries. It will become one of the largest industrial investments in British history.