The Northumberland Gigaplant
BRITISHVOLT, one of the fastest growing battery technology companies globally, is on the frontier of next-generation innovation, technology, and R&D.
It is dedicated to accelerating the future of low carbon electrified transportation, producing best-in-class battery solutions, and aims to help the UK transition from fossil fuels to a low carbon, battery-based electric future.
The cornerstone of that roadmap is its gigaplant in Northumberland, the UK’s first large, full-cycle gigaplant that will have a total capacity of over 38 gigawatt hours (GWh) by the end of the decade and will produce cells far in excess of 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per year, intended primarily for use in the automotive industry.
Phase 1 of the facility is expected to go into operation by 2023 with full capacity by 2028.
The scheduled release of an official A-sample battery cell to customers in 2022 will help to further accelerate commitments.
The UK government early this year announced to provide financial support to the plant as part of its 10-point plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’ and its recent Transport Decarbonisation Plan.
The Northumberland Gigaplant is a major boost for the UK as it will deliver around 3,000 direct skilled jobs and another 5,000-plus in the associated supply chains.
Britishvolt has signed collaborations with academia, industry and private enterprises to support the development of Gigaplant.
It entered a strategic partnership with Sunbelt Rentals to work closely to support the development of heavy plant and equipment battery solutions to help de-carbonise the construction and equipment rental sectors.
Additionally, the company has already confirmed MoUs with Lotus Cars and Aston Martin Lagonda, which have cumulative demand in excess of 7GWh in 2024 and 2025.
To support the energy transition, many new skills are required and Britishvolt has agreed to work with Northumberland College and the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre, to nurture the graduates throughout their core apprenticeship training, and to develop homegrown intellectual property,
Both Northumberland College and the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre will link to the Britishvolt FutureGen Foundation, connecting into hard-to-reach communities and driving up the aspirations and skills of the many.
The Foundation was created by Britishvolt to help build a better future for local communities through providing entry level, gateway qualifications into STEM and renewables employment, as well as inspiring our next generation of scientists, engineers and climate advocates.
According to Katie Sloggett, Britishvolt Head of Learning and Development: “This is a fantastic opportunity to work within our local communities and help generate the skills required for Britain to play its part in the next industrial revolution. These partnerships will initially create opportunities for apprentices at levels 2-4, in time forming part of a wider electrification skills pathway towards higher-skills, up to and including level 8 (PhD).”
“The arrival of Britishvolt in south east Northumberland is going to have a massive positive impact on the local area and its economy and we’re delighted to be partnering with Britishvolt to help recruit new talent and develop their workforce through apprenticeships,” said Iain Nixon, Vice Principal Partnerships and Commercial, for Education Partnership North East, which incorporates Northumberland College, Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form
The college will initially provide training for entry-level apprentices at Britishvolt – operators on the production line and engineering technicians.
Ahead of the Gigaplant starting up production, a pilot engineering technician apprenticeship programme will start this September.
Meanwhile David Grailey, Managing Director of MTC Training, said: “MTC Training’s apprentices are exactly what industry needs to fill the high-tech jobs of the future as industry moves toward a net-zero environment. Our apprenticeship shape our learners to be fully-rounded apprentices capable of filling the most demanding of positions.”
And Alex Burghart, UK Government Minister for Skills, commented: “The UK is leading the way in supporting cutting edge green industries and it is brilliant to see apprentices take their rightful place at the forefront of our green skills revolution.
“This deal proves what is possible when colleges and companies work together to meet the needs of learners, local communities and the economy, and I would encourage all colleges to follow Northumberland’s example.”
Early this year, Britishvolt topped the list of 14 best-funded greentech startups in the UK. It has already raised £1.78 billion ($2.18 billion) in equity investment since launching in 2019, according to Beauhurst data.
The vast majority of Britishvolt’s funding was secured in a single deal in January 2022. The £1.7-billion fundraising included a sales and leaseback arrangement, provided by Tritax and abrdn, and will fund the construction of Britishvolt’s battery plant in the North East. It was also the biggest UK equity deal of Q1 2022.
The company’s other investors include Glencore, Carbon Transition, NG Bailey and Cathexis Venture II. It has also received a £100 million innovation grant from the UK Government-backed Automotive Transformation Fund. --OGN