June 17, 2021: Separator firm ENTEK and Britishvolt, the company building the UK’s first lithium-ion battery gigafactory, on June 14 signed an MoU that means separators will eventually be domestically produced in the UK and supplied straight to the production line.
The MoU will look at how ENTEK’s separators can be used in Britishvolt’s batteries and following that, a potential investment in a facility to produce the ceramic coated separator materials.
ENTEK already has a plant in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in the north of England, and the plans are for another one next to Britishvolt’s gigafactory in Blyth also near to Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
“We are delighted to have been selected as Britishvolt’s preferred lithium-ion battery separator partner and eager to align our objectives and investments with their transformational plans to build a 30GWh+ factory in the UK,” said Larry Keith, ENTEK CEO.
“Co-location at Britishvolt’s site will allow access to an abundance of renewable energy, essential for power intensive manufacturing processes,” said Britishvolt.
“It will also reduce the length of the supply chain and along with it the carbon footprint of battery production.”
Supply of lithium is also a concern, although two firms — British Lithium and Cornish Lithium — are exploring known deposits of the element in the UK in the southwest of England, which would be useful in that regard.
However that is unlikely to become a reality for at least a decade, says Kathryn Goodenough, principal geologist with the British Geological Society.