A pioneering 18,500m2 national battery manufacturing development facility has been officially opened in Coventry, UK.
The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) facility will support UK industry with development of battery technologies as the UK aims to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050 and the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans to be banned by 2030.
UKBIC can be used by any organisation that can benefit from finding out whether their advanced battery technologies can be scaled up successfully before committing to the huge investment required for mass production.
The facility employs more than 80 battery technicians, engineers, and support staff, with plans for that number to grow to support future project partnerships with industry and research organisations.
Jeff Pratt, UKBIC’s managing director, said: “I’m delighted that UKBIC is open for business. Completed at deliberate speed during the pandemic, UKBIC is a key part of the UK Government’s Faraday Battery Challenge.”
In addition to funding from the Faraday Battery Challenge through UK Research and Innovation, UKBIC is also part-funded through the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The project has been delivered through a consortium of Coventry City Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and WMG, at the University of Warwick.
“UKBIC was created in 2018 following a competition led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre with support from Innovate UK.
David Greenwood, professor of Advanced Propulsion Systems, WMG at the University of Warwick said: “At the heart of the UK battery manufacturing landscape, this national infrastructure exists nowhere else in Europe, and gives the UK a major advantage for development of new battery technologies.
“We continue to work very closely with UKBIC, with the focus at WMG in helping companies and universities prove out their battery chemistries and cell designs, ready for industrialisation at UKBIC.
“Together, we have built an ecosystem which allows battery companies to investigate new technologies, prove them out, then industrialise for high volume manufacture.”
Sarah Windrum, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “The submission of a planning application for a Gigafactory is the important next step as we seek to deliver battery production for the West Midlands.”
Ian Constance, CEO of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, said: “There’s billions of pounds of opportunity in the UK to manufacture the low-carbon technology needed by the automotive and clean-tech sectors.
“Recent announcements by Nissan and Stellantis to expand their electric vehicle operations here demonstrate the UK’s globally recognised expertise and capability in clean innovation.”
Read about BEST‘s visit to this state-of-the-art facility in the summer issue of the magazine, available here.
Image: UKBIC managing director Jeff Pratt with prime minister Boris Johnson during the opening.