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Britishvolt pulls out of Wales MoU to announce new site for its UK lithium-ion gigaplant

Mon, 12/14/2020 - 10:00 -- Paul Crompton

UK lithium-ion gigafactory hopeful Britishvolt has announced it now plans to build its plant in the North East of England— five months after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Welsh government.

The company now plans to begin construction of its plant next Summer 2021 after acquiring exclusive rights to a site in Blyth Northumberland. 

Signed on 17 July, the MoU with the Wales government sets out plans for a 30GWh gigafactory at the former Royal Air Force base at Bro Tathan in South Wales’ Vale of Glamorgan.

A Britishvolt spokesman told BEST: "The MOU was not an exclusivity agreement. Britishvolt was always considering the possibility of other sites in the background– in fact it started with a roster of over 100 sites

"Wales was always subject to feasibility studies. One of the reasons that Blyth was eventually favoured was the instant access to renewable energy sources.

"Britishvolt is still maintaining a close working relationship with the Welsh Government to look at future projects."

Total investment for Britishvolt’s gigaplant sits at £2.6 billion ($3.4 billion). 

Britshvolt aims to begin producing lithium-ion cylindrical and pouch cells primarily to the electric vehicle market at the plant by the end of 2023.

By the final phase of the project in 2027 the plant should be producing more than 300,000 lithium-ion batteries for the UK automotive industry. 

Britishvolt CEO, Orral Nadjari “We are delighted to have secured this site in Blyth. This is a tremendous moment both for Britishvolt and UK industry. 

“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.  

“Now we can really start the hard work and begin producing lithium-ion batteries for future electrified vehicles in just three years. 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.”

The Britishvolt gigaplant will be built on a 95-hectare site, formerly the site of the Blyth Power Station. It will use renewable energy, including the potential to use hydro-electric power generated in Norway and transmitted 447 miles under the North Sea via the world’s longest inter-connector from the North Sea Link project.

You can read more about Britishvolt's plans in our exclusie interview with Isobel Sheldon, the firm's chief strategy director, in the latest edition of BESTmag HERE

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