Britishvolt gigafactory gets lifeline bid from Scale Facilitation

Battery manufacturer Britishvolt's gigafactory has received a lifeline from Scale Facilitation Partners LLC and its indirectly wholly owned subsidiary Recharge Industries Pty Ltd following a competitive bidding process, administrator EY said

The majority of the business and assets of Britishvolt were the subject of “multiple approaches” from interested parties, with numerous offers received, according to EY.

“Completion of the acquisition is expected to occur within the next seven days,” EY added.

The news marks a positive development for the United Kingdom’s battery supply chain, which lacks a gigafactory to build batteries used in the electric vehicles it will need for the energy transition. According to the Faraday Institute, a research organization, the UK will need 10 gigafactories by 2040 to meet EV battery needs.

Britishvolt, which entered administration last month due to insufficient equity investment in both the ongoing research it was undertaking and the development of its sites, had been building a gigafactory in northeastern England.

According to Britishvolt, the gigaplant would have produced enough cells for more than 300,000 EV battery packs per year, intended primarily for the automotive industry.

A recent joint report by consultancy McKinsey and the Global Battery Alliance, a multi-stakeholder organization, estimated that at least 120-150 new battery factories will need to be built between now and 2030 globally to meet the demands of the energy transition.

The battery material supply chain race is on

As with many countries around the world, the race to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and the supply chain constraints evidenced by the Covid-19 pandemic have triggered an effort by the UK to near-shore production of key raw materials and components such as batteries.

Britishvolt had a number of partnerships, including with Glencore for cobalt, VKTR for the development of a nickel sulfate facility in Indonesia, Posco Chemical Co for the supply of cathode and anode active battery materials, and BTR New Material for the supply of synthetic graphite and silicon oxide

David Collard, Scale Facilitation’s managing partner and chief executive officer, said the company “can’t wait to get started making a reality of our plans to build the UK’s first gigafactory.”

“After a competitive and rigorous process, we’re confident our proposal will deliver a strong outcome for all involved,” he added.

Scale Facilitation is based in New York and has a global innovation center in Australia. The company is involved in research, advanced manufacturing, capital, and supply chains, including Recharge Industries, a large-scale lithium-ion battery cell battery production facility and research partnership between the US and Australia.

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