Britain’s GBP130m (US$171m) UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) in Coventry, will soon be operational.

The 18,500 square metre publicly funded facility – which has already begun to welcome the first customers through its doors – can be accessed by any organisation with existing or new battery technology if that technology will bring green jobs.

UKBIC – which had planning permission two years ago – contains GBP60m 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 facilities are designed so 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 manufacturers across the world to ensure it is as good as that currently being installed in gigafactories now in construction.

“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,” said UKBIC MD, Jeff Pratt.

“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.”

UKBIC is 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.

“It [UKBIC] will enable us to deploy battery technology at scale, build new supply chains, and through the combination of government and industry, help develop cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe, low-weight and recyclable batteries which will be vital to meet the increasing demand of the global battery market,” added Tony Harper, Industrial Strategy Challenge Director – Faraday Battery Challenge at UK Research and Innovation.