Australian start-up Recharge’s investments in UK assets could revive domestic battery manufacturing hopes
The UK’s hopes to secure its domestic and sustainable electric vehicle (EV) batteries ecosystem could see a new light with Recharge Industries’ investments in the country’s nascent battery value chain
The Australia-based battery start-up announced a preliminary agreement with early-stage UK-based lithium refiner Tees Valley Lithium to supply toll-processed lithium to Recharge’s battery operations, it said in a release on Tuesday February 7.
Recharge Industries is owned by New York-based Scale Facilitation Partners, and has also entered an agreement to buy UK-based start-up Britishvolt’s business and assets, it was reported on Monday February 6.
The Britishvolt gigafactory project demonstrated the difficulty of getting new EV projects off the ground without firm government support.
“Start-ups have a lot of challenges, so it is not surprising that some fail, especially if they are starting from scratch,” William Adams, head of battery raw materials research at Fastmarkets, said regarding Britishvolt’s collapse.
“They need the know-how, they need the equipment to build the production lines, at a time when many other battery factories are also being built or expanded,” he added. “[And] they need to lock-in a supply of battery raw materials, again at a time when some many others want to secure supply too.”
Ambitious goals in achieving a move towards new generation energy
Western economies, including the United Kingdom, are increasing their efforts to secure the raw materials and the infrastructure needed for the ambitious goals of the energy transition. The development of a localized and sustainable rechargeable battery ecosystem plays a key role in their strategies.
The US has recently seen a string of hefty investment announcements in the EV battery ecosystem, taking advantage of incentives arising from the country’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to encourage mining and manufacturing in the US and create a more integrated supply chain for EVs, which have typically relied on imports for critical minerals and battery components.
The EU launched the Green Deal Industrial Plan at the beginning of February, to speed up the energy transformation of the EU. The plan aims to complement previous initiatives and simplify the regulatory environment for the quick deployment of net-zero manufacturing capacities, facilitate access to funding and secure supply of critical materials.
Recharge is also building a facility in Australia to produce batteries for EVs.
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