Enabling works start at Britishvolt Gigaplant site

Battery cell technology and R&D company Britishvolt has instructed ISG to start enabling works on the UK’s premier Gigaplant site in Cambois, Northumberland.

The company was granted planning permission to construct its first full-scale lithium-ion Gigaplant facility in July and main construction of the site will see more than 2,500 people involved in the project.

According to the company, the news represents a major milestone in its “quest to assist vehicle OEMs on their roadmap to electrification”. 

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.

Richard McDonell, Britishvolt Project Director, said: “Today (6 September) is a historic day as it marks the start of construction on the UK’s premier Gigaplant, Britishvolt – a landmark event for UK manufacturing and the automotive industry on the road to zero. 

“It is a pleasure to see our tier one construction partner ISG, and its world-class workforce, commence preliminary works on site ahead of the main construction programme, which we anticipate will start in late autumn/early winter. This initial phase will see the site cleared and preparatory work carried out for the services and infrastructure that will support construction activity. 

“This is yet another milestone on our journey to building the UK’s first full-scale Gigaplant. It’s a boost for UK plc and the real kick-start of the energy transition, of which Britishvolt batteries will be at the very heart.

“This is an exciting announcement and marks the tangible start and progress of the main factory building where we will be producing some of the world’s lowest carbon, sustainable battery cells to help accelerate the transition to a low carbon future.” 

Peter Millett, High Tech Managing Director for ISG’s Engineering Services business, added: “The positive momentum, passion and sense of genuine excitement that underpins this nationally important project is driving the entire team forward at pace, and this significant construction milestone demonstrates our collective commitment to UK manufacturing and to supporting communities across Northumberland. This is the starting point for the transformation of a disused site in Cambois with a legacy in the industrial past, that from today will become a beacon for innovation and advanced manufacturing right here in the North East.”

Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, commented: “It’s great to see work starting on the ground on a site which the council and partners have been actively engaged on in recent years to make it an attractive proposition for investors.

“Since we granted planning permission work behind the scenes has continued at pace so to see enabling works getting underway is fantastic – not just for the council and Britishvolt, but for everyone in the county.

“With thousands of jobs in the pipeline and billions of pounds of investment this is such a good news story for Northumberland and the wider region and we look forward to following progress over the coming months.”

The 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. 

The project will be built in phases towards total capacity by end-2027 onwards. This will allow the business to keep on top of any technological advancements.

It has been a busy period for Britishvolt. Last month (August) the company announced it had entered into a long-term strategic partnership for the supply of responsibly sourced cobalt with the world’s largest industrial producer and one of the largest recyclers, Glencore. And it also confirmed that it was part of a consortium of seven UK-based organisations which has signed a memorandum of understanding to combine ambitions to develop world-leading prototype solid-state battery technology, targeting automotive applications

Image courtesy of Britishvolt.

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