The £130m UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) – the innovative 18,500 square metre national battery manufacturing development facility – has been officially opened by the Prime Minister during a visit to Coventry.
UKBIC has been established to help facilitate UK industry with the advancement of battery technologies for electrification in the future. The Centre will support the UK in achieving its bold climate change targets, such as attaining ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050 and a halt to the selling of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.
Innovation in battery development
This pioneering facility can be utilised by any organisation developing batteries for applications such as electric vehicles, rail, aerospace, industrial and domestic equipment and static energy storage. Using UKBIC can help them discover whether it is possible to scale up their advanced technologies before committing to the massive advancement necessary for mass production.
Currently, UKBIC employs over 80 engineers, battery technicians and support staff, but it intends to increase this number in order to facilitate project partnerships with industry and research organisations going forward.
Towards a green future, with green jobs
During his visit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented: “UKBIC is a beacon of innovation and ingenuity- shining the way for a brighter, greener future for the battery sector in the UK. It was an honour to open this world-class facility today and I cannot think of a more fitting backdrop here in Coventry to speak about the government’s ambitious agenda to level up across the UK.
“This facility will help to deliver green growth and jobs as industrial demand accelerates in the UK battery sector. With the technology and government government–backed expertise on offer right here in Coventry, I have no doubt that UKBIC will become world leaders in the industry.”
Jeff Pratt, UKBIC’s Managing Director, added: “I’m delighted that UKBIC is open for business. Completed at deliberate speed during the pandemic, UKBIC is a key part of the UK Government’s Faraday Battery Challenge, created to fast track the commercialisation of cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe, low-weight and recyclable batteries.
“The battery manufacturing equipment installed covers the whole production process from electrode manufacturing, cylindrical and pouch cell assembly, to formation ageing and testing and battery modules and packs. The facility is also a training centre to upskill the UK battery sector.
“The importance of the battery sector to the UK economy cannot be underestimated. The Faraday Institution believes that the equivalent of seven large gigafactories will be needed in the UK and employment in the automotive industry and battery supply chain could grow from 170,000 to 220,000 by 2040.
“As we all look to recover from the impact of Coronavirus, we have the opportunity to help make the UK a global leader in batteries, with UKBIC and the Faraday Institution supporting the UK battery industry to become world leaders.”
As well as receiving funding from the Faraday Battery Challenge through UK Research and Innovation, UKBIC is partially funded through the West Midlands Combined Authority. The project has been delivered through an association including Coventry City Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and WMG, at the University of Warwick.
Tony Harper, Faraday Battery Challenge’s Challenge Director, said: “It is fantastic to have UKBIC declared open for business today. This complex state of the art facility that, despite the pandemic, has been delivered at least two years ahead of its nearest international rival will help ensure the UK fully prospers from the transition to electric vehicles. Jeff and the team deserve huge credit for this phenomenal achievement.
“This centre Centre is an important part of the Faraday Battery Challenge at UK Research and Innovation. The highly coordinated challenge has a targeted £330 million programme of investment ranging from the creation of a battery ‘Science Superpower’ in the Faraday Institution to scaling high-technology, high growth business and now to providing a world-class industrialisation capability. Having UKBIC open means we can help businesses focus on decarbonising all forms of transportation and support the UK’s push for net net–zero.”
Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, added, “Coventry led the way in the development of the combustion engine and now we are leading the green industrial revolution. The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre is nationally important and it will help us speed up the transition to cleaner and greener transport, creating jobs at UKBIC but also in the local supply chain. It has been made possible thanks to some great partnership working and I am delighted that it is now officially open.”