The UK Government has committed funding towards a huge £3.8bn (US$4.5bn) battery manufacturing plant that BritishVolt is building in Northumberland.
While the Government has not disclosed the amount it’s investing through its £850m Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), the BBC reports that the figure is around £100m. The “gigafactory” – a term used to describe a factory that supports the production of a very large number of batteries – built in on the site of an old coal-power plant. Once it reaches full capacity in 2027 it will employ 3,000 people and produce battery cells for more than 300,000 lithium-ion batteries per year.
The UK Government has set a target for the country to be net zero by 2050, and has banned the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The Blyth gigafactory will turbocharge our plans to embed a globally competitive electric vehicle supply chain in the UK, and it is fantastic to see how the project is progressing.”
Isobel Sheldon OBE, Chief Strategy Officer at BritishVolt, said “While the overwhelming majority of investment for the project will come from private sources, the ATF’s grant funding is very important in proving that the UK Government is confident that we will deliver on our plans, and this will help to generate further private investment. It’s a clear indicator of the Government’s policy towards electrification of society.”
To improve the green credentials of its factory, BritishVolt plans to tap into local renewables projects to power its processes and has said it wants to ensure that processing materials have the highest level of utilisation and re-utilisation throughout the manufacturing process to manage processing costs and reduce waste. In July, it signed a deal with Chinse materials firm BTR to supply BritishVolt with anode materials produced using renewable power. In February it formed a joint venture with Glencore’s Britannia Refined Metals to recycle battery manufacturing scrap produced at Blyth that will be recycled at a new plant in nearby Northfleet that is set to begin operations in 2023.
by Adam Duckett
France has launched an offshore green hydrogen production platform at the country’s Port of Saint-Nazaire this week, along with its first offshore wind farm. The hydrogen plant, which its operators say is the world’s first facility of its type, coincides with the launch of another “first of its kind” facility in Sweden dedicated to storing hydrogen in an underground lined rock cavern (LRC).
The project sets up the Hydrogen Valley in Rome, the first industrial-scale technological hub for the development of the national supply chain for the production, transport, storage and use of hydrogen for the decarbonization of industrial processes and for sustainable mobility.
At first glance, hydrogen seems to be the perfect solution to our energy needs. It doesn’t produce any carbon dioxide when used. It can store energy for long periods of time. It doesn’t leave behind hazardous waste materials, like nuclear does. And it doesn’t require large swathes of land to be flooded, like hydroelectricity. Seems too good to be true. So…what’s the catch?