Battery technology pioneer Britishvolt has extended its contract with WMG, University of Warwick to develop battery cell technologies and accelerate the route to market, in a multi-million-pound deal.
Following an initial 12-month project, Britishvolt and WMG are now embarking on a two-year programme. WMG’s research will assist with battery cell development and optimisation including small-scale manufacturing to produce battery electrodes and cells using Britishvolt target materials sets, formulations and cell designs.
Dr Allan Paterson, Chief Technical Officer, Britishvolt, said the battery science, advanced materials and cell prototyping expertise and capability at WMG has positively supported its battery technology development programme.
"This gives us not only an excellent basis to progress from, as we seek to scale and commercialise our technologies, but the relationship also enables Britishvolt to continue to develop our products further," he said.
The project is helping Britishvolt to deliver a 38GWh battery Gigaplant, one of the largest industrial investments ever undertaken in the UK. The facility, located in the North East of England, will quickly increase the availability of batteries required at commercial scale for the electric vehicle market, and beyond – playing a key role in helping the UK reach its carbon net zero target by 2050.
A strategic partnership was signed with Sunbelt Rentals this month to support the Gigaplant's development and create 'economies of carbon'.
Professor David Greenwood, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at WMG, said the industry will be critical for the future of the UK automotive and energy sectors.
"WMG has been investing over the last decade in the research and development capabilities needed to help Britishvolt and other battery companies to be internationally competitive now and in the future," he said.
The Northumberland Gigaplant – Britishvolt’s first large, full-cycle Gigaplant in the UK - will have a total capacity of over 38Gwh by the end of the decade and will produce enough cells far in excess of 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per year, intended primarily for use in the automotive industry.
The development is a major boost for Northumberland, and the UK, delivering around 3,000 direct skilled jobs and another 5,000-plus in the associated supply chains.
Britshvolt has also signed a strategic partnership with Northumberland College and the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre, to co-develop syllabus and access technical training for apprentices for both locations, with the first trainees starting in September.