Battery manufacturer Britishvolt has announced the selection of two promising sites for the UK’s first 30 plus GWh gigafactory, from an initial 42 locations, with Bro Tathan in South Wales set to become the preferred option.
The initial wave of £1.2 billion of investment into the site will eventually lead to around 3,500 jobs, with total job creation of up to 15,500 including the ecosystem of local businesses, contractors, and supply chains that will benefit.
The development could also help secure the long-term survival of domestic carmaking in Wales as the industry transitions to electric power.
Managing Director of Business News Wales, Mark Powney spoke with co-founder of Britishvolt COO Orral Nadjari.
The battery industry is forecast to be worth £5 billion domestically by 2025, and the demand for lithium ion cells across a number of industries, including vehicle electrification, is already increasing dramatically, and risks becoming constrained as the UK Government strives to meet its Road to Zero targets by 2050. Not only is Britishvolt filling this gap in the market, but is also moving to leverage the UK’s world-leading lithium ion battery research development and academic community to ensure the country retains a commercial and technical lead.
The firm is also announcing plans to build a solar park alongside the factory, to support sustainable production of batteries and meet low carbon objectives, ensuring the firm plays a true and active part in the global green agenda.
Lars Carlstrom, CEO at Britishvolt said:
“We aim to deliver a scalable, onshore production and diverse portfolio of world-class lithium ion batteries, to support the unprecedented transition to electrification – primarily servicing the automotive and energy storage markets. After six months of careful analysis, Bro Tathan is the preferred choice due to number of different factors.
The Welsh Government has welcomed us with open arms and impeccable due diligence, and the region meets crucial criteria including import/export accessibility, availability of labour and skilled staff, along with convenient geographical proximity to customers and local industrial companies.
The sheer scale of this project means our gigafactory will have one of the top three largest single footprints in Europe. The plant will be one km long and 30 metres tall, needing 80 plus hectares of land, and the energy intensive nature of producing lithium ion cells means nearby renewable sources are of huge importance. Our ambition is to become one of the greenest battery producers worldwide, which will be facilitated through the creation of our very own solar park, ensuring a near carbon neutral electricity input.
Our state of the art and high efficiency gigaplant will employ at least 3,500 local Welsh people. These will be across a wide range of disciplines and will create a local ecosystem of 10,000 to 15,000 further jobs for the wider supply chain – including material suppliers, contractors and local services.
By the third quarter of 2023, we plan for the first stage of our plant to be fully functional, and envision that between 40 and 60 per cent of the initial £1.2 billion of investment will be injected directly into the chosen community, representing a real catalyst for growth in the local economy and the UK.