The 18,500m2 facility – which has already begun to welcome the first of its customers through its doors – can be accessed by any organisation with existing or new battery technology, if that technology will bring green jobs and prosperity to the UK.
UKBIC contains £60 million of specialist battery manufacturing equipment which is now in the final stages of commissioning. Most of the equipment will be commissioned by the end of this year.
Its capability allows organisations in the UK to prove whether their promising technologies (from electrode and cell materials through to battery modules and packs) can be manufactured at the required volume, speed, performance and cost to be commercially successful.
The highly flexible facilities are designed so that several users can run projects at the same time in discrete areas, and also provides opportunities for hands-on training in battery production.
UKBIC currently employs 86 people, including battery technicians, engineers and consultants, with plans for that number to reach 100 to support future project partnerships with industry and research organisations.
The specialist battery manufacturing equipment being installed covers the whole production process from powders and electrodes to cell, module and pack assembly. It has been sourced and supplied from leading manufacturers across the world to ensure it is as good as that currently being installed in Gigafactories now under construction.
Jeff Pratt, UKBIC’s managing director, said: “We’re really excited to be getting close to being operational and playing a key role in developing and stimulating the race to a greener future. Since moving into our new facility earlier this year, we have already begun to welcome manufacturers, entrepreneurs, researchers and educators, albeit in a controlled and socially distanced manner.”
“Our battery production development facility can be used by companies working on electric vehicles, rail, aerospace, industrial and domestic equipment and static energy storage, who can benefit by finding out whether their innovations can be scaled up successfully before committing to the huge investment needed for mass production.”
“We and our partners have continued to work on the facility throughout the Covid-19 period. Although we have seen some delays, we have continued to make excellent progress, and are now seeing our first facilities beginning to come on stream.”
UKBIC is a key part of the Faraday Battery Challenge, a Government programme to fast track the development of cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe, low-weight and recyclable batteries.