A site in north east England previously owned by the failed battery startup Britishvolt reportedly was to be bought for GBP110m by a US private equity firm, which plans to build one of Europe’s largest data centres.

The Guardian said the Blackstone Group was to buy the 95-hectare (235-acre) site near Cambois in Northumberland to take advantage of its links to renewable energy, according to receivers for one of the Britishvolt companies.

The paper said the receivers did not disclose the amount paid for the site but Northumberland county council documents showed the local authority would create a £110m “growth and investment endowment fund” as a result of the deal.

The report noted Britishvolt had “burst on to the scene in 2019”, promising to build batteries to power Britain’s electric cars. The company garnered the support of the then prime minister, Boris Johnson, and a promise of £100m in government subsidy, before collapsing in early 2023.

The site formerly housed Blyth power station, a pair of coal fired units.

Receivers Bob Maxwell and Julian Pitts of Begbies Traynor Group reportedly said Blackstone planned to turn the site into “one of the largest data centre facilities in western Europe”.

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The Guardian said the council had retained an option to buy back the site for £4m, the price Britishvolt paid, if the owners failed to build a gigafactory.

The startup had promised to bring as many as 3,000 jobs to the region with an ambitious plan to build a second car battery gigafactory in the north east of England that rivalled the Chinese-owned AESC plant [supplying Nissan’s car factory] in Sunderland. Britishvolt managed to win tens of millions of pounds of investment from the FTSE 100 companies Ashtead and Glencore, as well as Tritax, a property investment arm of the asset manager abrdn.

However, the project floundered as Britishvolt spent heavily on developing its own battery technology, and failed to secure the orders it needed to unlock further funding. Construction at the site started, but the Guardian later revealed that it was put on “life support” in the summer of 2022.