The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) was opened today by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
UKBIC was created in 2018 following a competition led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre with support from Innovate UK and won through a joint bid by WMG, at the University of Warwick, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Coventry City Council.
The state-of-the-art facility aims to be a key stepping-stone for the automotive sector, enabling the localisation of the supply chain and ramping up of battery technology to prepare for larger investment and enable industrialisation.
Its role as a proving ground for the latest in design and manufacture of batteries, and the materials they are made from, is central to seeding further growth in the UK battery supply chain and industrial and innovation ecosystems. Together with the correct support – such as APC funding – we expect that this will unlock the UK’s potential to play a very significant role in the electrification of transport. Not only does it demonstrate the UK’s commitment for major expansions in gigafactories, as seen with the recent Nissan Envision AESC announcement in Sunderland, the centre will nurture high-skilled jobs and boost capability at the heart of the UK’s research and development powerhouse for low-emission technology.
UKBIC is funded from the Faraday Battery Challenge through UK Research and Innovation, and also part-funded through the West Midlands Combined Authority.
UKBIC released a news update today about the official opening.
The opening was attended by Jeff Pratt, UKBIC’s Managing Director, Ian Constance, CEO of the Advanced Propulsion Centre and Tony Harper, Industrial Strategy Challenge Director for the Faraday Battery Challenge at UKRI.
Speaking about the meeting with Prime Minister Johnson Ian Constance, CEO of the Advanced Propulsion Centre said: “It was a great opportunity to be able to share with the Prime Minister the important role the Advanced Propulsion Centre, UKBIC and the Faraday Battery Challenge can play in their plans for a green industrial revolution.
“There’s billions of pounds of opportunity in the UK to manufacture the low-carbon technology needed by the automotive and clean-tech sectors. Recent announcements by Nissan and Stellantis to expand their electric vehicle operations here demonstrate the UK’s globally-recognised expertise and capability in clean innovation.
“We are continuing to build on the work we’ve already done to accelerate the UK’s low-carbon ambitions, which will lead to even more jobs and lower carbon dioxide emissions.”
Jeff Pratt, UKBIC’s Managing Director said: “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 aging 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.”
Tony Harper, Faraday Battery Challenge’s Challenge Director, commented: “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 is an important part of the Faraday Battery Challenge at UK Research & 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 zero.”