Glencore buys into UK battery maker Britishvolt under cobalt supply agreement

Image of Britishvolt's Gigafactory project in Blyth. Source: Britishvolt.

August 17 (Renewables Now) – Anglo-Swiss miner and commodities trader Glencore Plc (LON:GLEN) has acquired an unspecified stake in UK battery manufacturing start-up Britishvolt Ltd as part of a newly-agreed strategic partnership for the supply of ethically-sourced cobalt needed for the production of lithium-ion battery cells for electric vehicles (EV).

The financial terms of the transaction were withheld.

"This is a huge step in the right direction for Britishvolt as we look to accelerate the transition to a low carbon society. By partnering with Glencore, we are locking in supply and de-risking the project," Britishvolt founder and CEO Orral Nadjari said, referring to the UK's first future battery giga-factory.

The facility is planned to go online in the fourth quarter of 2023 in Cambois, Northumberland, in northern England. It will be built in three phases, each of 10GWh, reaching total capacity of 30GWh from the end of 2027 onwards. Once at full capacity, the plant is expected to produce enough cells for around 300,000 EV battery packs per year.

In June, Britishvolt signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with US Entek Membranes, with a view to potentially obtaining supply of materials and technology for lithium battery separators.

In April, the British battery cell start-up was reported to be working on sourcing new funds of up to GBP 100 million (USD 138.7m/EUR 117.8m), with a further GBP 250 million to follow the Series B round. A potential public listing through a merger with a US special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) was not ruled out, Nadjari was cited as saying at the time.

Founded in late 2019, Britishvolt has previously announced plans to invest a total of GBP 2.6 billion in the future Northumberland site, which is set to employ some 3,000 staff.

(GBP 1 = USD 1.387/EUR 1.178)

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