Britishvolt part of UK-based consortium established to develop prototype solid-state batteries

Britishvolt part of UK-based consortium established to develop prototype solid-state batteries

August 19, 2021
Power On
  • MOU signed between Johnson Matthey, Faraday Institution, Britishvolt, Oxford University, UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, Emerson & Renwick and University of Warwick
  • The news is another major milestone for Britishvolt on its mission to accelerate the transition to a low carbon future, perfectly complimenting its three-phase build strategy to keep up with technology advancements
  • Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone said: “Collaboration between industry, government and our world-leading academic institutions is putting the UK at the forefront of global efforts to develop innovative automotive technologies, such as solid-state batteries
  • Collaboration with wider industry is a key component of Britishvolt’s business model and this showcases the world-class UK battery ecosystem putting the UK at the very heart of the global battery map

Northumberland, 19/08/21: A consortium of seven UK-based organisations, including Britishvolt, has signed a memorandum of understanding to combine ambitions to develop world-leading prototype solid-state battery technology, targeting automotive applications.

Solid-state batteries offer significant potential advantages over conventional lithium-ion batteries and could be transformational in meeting the UK’s net zero commitments through the electrification of transport. The successful outcome of the collaboration would be to harness and industrialise UK academic capability to produce cells using highly scalable manufacturing techniques that leapfrog the cost-effectiveness and performance achieved elsewhere.

The consortium comprises the following world-leading organisations in battery research, development and manufacturing:

  • Faraday Institution – the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, which has led the consortium’s formation and will lead its development.
  • Britishvolt – the UK-based Gigaplant developer, with a site in NE England.
  • E+R (Emerson & Renwick) – a world leading designer of manufacturing equipment.
  • Johnson Matthey – a global leader in sustainable technologies and the UK’s leading battery materials business.
  • Oxford University – that leads the Faraday Institution’s solid-state battery project (SOLBAT) and provides the necessary scientific understanding to the consortium.
  • UK Battery Industrialisation Centre – the pioneering battery manufacturing development facility to enable UK battery manufacturing scale-up and facilitate upskilling in the battery sector.
  • WMG, University of Warwick – leaders in battery R&D and initial scale-up capability, as well as academic and apprenticeship skills development.

The preliminary design for a prototyping facility has been developed. Sources of funding are currently being sought.

Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone:

“Collaboration between industry, government and our world-leading academic institutions is putting the UK at the forefront of global efforts to develop innovative automotive technologies, such as solid-state batteries.

“It is the work of our internationally-renowned research and development base, like those brought together by this consortium, that will give us the tools needed to forge a strong and sustainable future for the automotive sector and increase our contribution to combatting climate change.”

Professor Pam Thomas, CEO of Faraday Institution:

“I am delighted to be able to announce the formation of this unique consortium for the advancement of solid-state battery prototyping that includes leading UK-based organisations at many stages in the value chain, Our leadership in this venture signals a move towards a role that the Faraday Institution will increasingly play as a trusted convener of significant partnerships between UK industry and academia as a route to commercialise breakthrough science emerging from our research programmes to maximise UK economic value.”

Orral Nadjari, Founder/CEO, Britishvolt:

“Solid-state is the holy grail of battery solutions. Solid-state batteries have the potential to increase energy density significantly over battery technology available today and could dramatically, and positively, change the world of electric vehicles. Britishvolt will be at the forefront of commercialising this step change over the coming years. This collaboration, which includes major global industrial leaders such as Johnson Matthey and academic leadership from University of Oxford, underscores another key objective in our technology roadmap – home grown intellectual property.”

Solid-state batteries (SSBs) offer significant potential advantages over existing lithium-ion battery technologies, including the ability to hold more charge for a given volume (leading to increased electric vehicle (EV) range) and reduced costs of safety-management. Early deployment of SSBs is likely to be in consumer electronics, niche automotive applications and unmanned aerospace, before being used in broader EV markets. The Faraday Institution forecasts that, in 2030, SSBs are likely to take a 7% share of the global consumer electronics battery market and a 4% share of the EV battery market[1]. Global SSB revenues from sales to EV manufacturers are expected to reach $8 billion by 2030[2] and then grow rapidly to 2040 and 2050 when the market is expected to become extensive.

However, there are fundamental scientific challenges that need to be addressed before high power SSBs with commercially relevant performance can be realised. The Faraday Institution’s SOLBAT project has made considerable progress in addressing these challenges over the last three years.

The construction of the one-of-a-kind facility being developed by the collaboration will enable SSB technology to emerge from UK university laboratories. It will allow larger cells to be produced using scalable manufacturing techniques that will be improved iteratively through deep investigation of the causes of problems that emerge during manufacture and testing of prototype batteries. This will leverage the collective knowledge of Faraday Institution SSB researchers and the industrial partners.

[1] Faraday Insight 5, 2020
[2] IDTechEx, June 2021

Christian Gunther, CEO, Battery Materials at Johnson Matthey:

“The realisation of a prototype solid-state battery cell will be a great achievement for the UK battery industry, and this consortium will be a critical enabler for delivering this milestone. Delivering enhanced range and safety over traditional lithium-ion battery technologies will be a key driver for battery electric vehicle adoption, supporting the transition to a net zero future.”

Professor Peter Bruce, Principal Investigator of SOLBAT:

“It’s fantastic to see the culmination of combined UK academic strength in solid-state battery research come to fruition. I’m proud that the work of the Faraday Institution SOLBAT project, led by Oxford University, will make a significant contribution to the UK’s green energy revolution.”

David Greenwood, Professor of Advanced Propulsion Systems, and CEO of WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult:

“Early forms of solid-state battery are already around us, but we have yet to see solutions which are both mass-manufacturable and meet the performance and cost targets for future transport applications. There remains huge opportunity for innovation in this space, and this initiative will provide the route for the UK to fast-track candidate technologies to industrialisation.”

Andrew C Jack, Sales Director, E&R Group:

“E&R Group are delighted to be contributing our world renowned engineering expertise working in partnership Faraday and the wider consortium on this exciting development for next generation battery production for the UK.”

Ian Whiting, Commercial Director at UKBIC:

“Our newly opened national battery manufacturing scale up facility is already contracted to scale new cells and battery packs by companies basing their manufacturing centres in the UK. It’s a really exciting time for this fast-growing industry. We’re scaling technologies that will be the core products of the UK’s emergent Gigafactories. But we need to think even further ahead and solid-state battery technology is going to be a big part of that. This collaboration is what is needed to give the UK the edge it needs in creating a centre of excellence for solid-state batteries and we’re excited to be part of it. The bringing together of academic and industrial know how in this space is key to unlocking Britain’s electrified potential.”

For more information on the Faraday Institution, visit www.faraday.ac.uk and follow @FaradayInst on twitter.

The Britishvolt development is a major boon for Northumberland, and indeed the country, and will bring around 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs and another 5,000+ in the associated supply chains.

Britishvolt is on target to manufacture some of the world’s most sustainable, low carbon battery cells on the site of the former Blyth Power Station coal stocking yard located in Cambois, Northumberland.

The project will be built in three phases each of 10GWh to a total capacity of 30GWh by end-2027 onwards. This allows the business to keep on top of any technological advancements.

Once at full capacity, the Gigaplant will have a production capability equating to approximately enough cells for around 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per year, intended primarily for the automotive industry.

It will be the first large full cycle Gigaplant in the UK.

Safe Harbour.

Certain statements in this press release concerning our future growth prospects are forward-looking statements regarding our future business expectation intended to qualify for the ‘safe harbor’ under the U.S. Private Securities Reform Act of 1995, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements.

The risks and uncertainties relating to these statements include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties regarding fluctuations in earnings, fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, our ability to manage growth, competition including those factors which may affect our cost advantage, equipment procurement, wage increases, our ability to attract and retain highly skilled professionals, time and cost overruns on fixed-price, fixed-time contracts or time and material construction contracts, customer concentration, restrictions on immigration, industry segment concentration, our ability to manage international operations, reduced demand, disruptions in telecommunication networks or system failures, our ability to successfully complete and integrate potential acquisitions, liability for damages related to battery service agreements, the success of the companies in which Britishvolt has made strategic partnerships, withdrawal or expiration of governmental fiscal incentives, political instability and regional conflicts, legal restrictions on raising capital or acquiring companies and unauthorised use of our intellectual property and general economic conditions affecting our industry. In addition, please note any forward-looking statements contained herein are based on assumptions we believe to be reasonable as of the date of this press release.

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