Britishvolt has signed an MoU with the Welsh government as both parties work on plans to develop a commercially viable 30 GWh battery manufacturing plant and supplementary 200MW solar facility, at the former Bro Tathan Royal Air Force base.

After six months of analysis, the site was narrowed down from more than 40 locations, due to a number of factors including: import/export accessibility, availability of labour and skilled staff, as well as proximity to customers and local industrial companies.

Both parties have now signed an MoU to collaborate on the potential to build the UK’s first full cycle battery cell gigaplant subject to UK government funding through the Automotive Transformation Fund, to produce lithium ion cylindrical and pouch cells, primarily servicing the automotive market.

A successful outcome of the partnership could enable scalable production of a portfolio of lithium ion batteries, creating and expanding an onshore manufacturing ecosystem and supply chain to support the country’s ‘Road to Zero’ emissions targets and transition to electrification.

It is anticipated the initial GBP1.2bn (US$1.5bn) of investment from the company could eventually lead to the creation of up to 3,500 jobs.

Construction is scheduled to start begin in early 2021.

“We are proud to announce plans to work exclusively with the Welsh government to develop the UK’s landmark battery gigaplant,” said Britishvolt CEO and founder, Orral Nadjari.

“Wales has welcomed us with open arms and exceptional due diligence and we believe the country has vast untapped potential. Hiring local people, including those currently out of work and developing strong relationships with nearby educational facilities will be a priority for us to ensure a stream of skilled staff.

“Britishvolt will also encourage other businesses to invest in the region with the aim of creating a ‘hub’ of battery electrification; building out our very own infrastructure and supply chain ecosystem, which will create thousands more jobs.

“The construction of the solar farm will not only ensure our gigaplant has a near carbon neutral electricity input – complementing our goal of becoming one of the greenest battery producers worldwide – but also provide cleaner energy to the local area. The pandemic is acting as a catalyst, creating new markets for greener technologies, and highlighting the importance of localised supply chains, which Britishvolt has the backing and resources to drive forward.

“In the absence of any onshore battery production, 114,000 direct British automotive jobs are predicted to be lost by 2040 and we want to ensure this doesn’t happen.”