8.9.2021New Britishvolt battery cell factory under construction
Works have begun at Britishvolt’s new battery cell factory in Blyth, Northumberland. Planning permission for the cell factory was granted unanimously by Northumberland County Council in July and construction of the facility is scheduled to begin in autumn or winter this year.
The production facility will be built on the 95-hectare former site of the town’s power station. Once up and running, the company is planning to start production in 2023, according to the latest Britishvolt announcement. In total, the plant is expected to create around 3,000 direct jobs and a further 5,000 in associated supply chains.
The project is to be built in three phases of ten GWh each, reaching a full capacity of 30 GWh by the end of 2027. To get things underway, Britishvolt has commissioned construction partner ISG with the preliminary work. ISG will clear the site and take preparatory steps for the utilities and infrastructure of the construction site.
Britishvolt described the start of preliminary work as “another milestone on our way to building the UK’s first gigaplant”. Project director Richard McDonell also said that the cells will be produced in a particularly sustainable way.
Indeed, in an earlier announcement, Britishvolt expressed its intention to use renewable energy to run the plant. The use of Norwegian hydropower via the North Sea connection NSN Link, which is currently under construction, is apparently to be considered. On the British side, the coastal town of Blyth serves as the starting point for the submarine cables. However, Britishvolt has not mentioned anything further regarding this option in its latest communication.
It is not yet clear which cell chemistry and formats will be built in Blyth – but it will probably not be cobalt-free cell chemistry, given a recently concluded Glencore deal. In an earlier announcement, Britishvolt specified that the cells would “primarily” be for use in the automotive industry.