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BATTERY INDUSTRIALIZATION CENTRE UK Battery Industrialization Centre almost operational

Author / Editor: Luke James / Johanna Erbacher

The £130 million UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, a “first of its kind” battery production development facility in Coventry, England, will soon be operational according to those behind the project.

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The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, located in Coventry, England, is a publicly funded facility and can be used by any organisation with existing or new battery technology.
The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, located in Coventry, England, is a publicly funded facility and can be used by any organisation with existing or new battery technology.
(Source: gemeinfrei / Unsplash)

The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC), an 18,500 m2 publicly funded facility, has reportedly already begun to welcome the first of its customers. Based in Coventry, England, the UKBIC can be accessed by any organization with existing or new battery technology with the understanding that the technology would bring green jobs to the UK.

A specialist battery manufacturing facility

The facility, which reportedly contains £60 m of specialist battery manufacturing equipment, is now in the very final stages of commissioning according to a UKBIC announcement, with a majority of equipment due to be commissioned by the end of the year.

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UKBIC currently employs 86 people, including battery technicians, engineers and consultants, however, this number is expected to rise to around the 100 mark when the facility is fully operational to support future projects and collaborations, bringing more jobs to the local area. UK-based organizations will soon be able to demonstrate whether their technologies, such as electrode materials and battery modules, can be manufactured at the necessary volume, speed, performance, and cost to realize commercial success.

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.”

The announcement comes as NG Bailey completes its £14.6 m installation of mechanical and electrical services at the battery development facility. NG Bailey, the principal contractor working on the facility, completed this work in just eight months.

The majority of the mechanical and electrical equipment—including over 6 km of pipework and 140 heavy duty service modules—was manufactured at NG Bailey’s specialist facility in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Duncan Smith, NG Bailey's operations director for the Midlands, said: "By being involved in the early stages of the project we were able to develop bespoke solutions for rapid delivery. It only took six weeks from developing the initial concept to delivering the first module to site.”

With commissioning and handover of the UKBIC facility now finished, NG Bailey has been retained by UKBIC as principal contractor and will support UKBIC during the ongoing installation phase of its highly specialized equipment.

Designed to support several projects

UKBIC’s facilities have been designed to support several projects simultaneously in discreet areas. They will also provide opportunities for training in battery production, the announcement confirmed.

Pratt went on to highlight how the facility can be used by companies working on electric vehicles, rail, domestic equipment, aerospace, and static energy storage. These companies will be able to benefit from the facility by finding out in good time whether their innovations can be scaled up successfully. This will prevent firms from fruitlessly committing to costly mass production only to realize disappointing results.

UKBIC claims that the facility’s equipment will cover the entire battery production process—from powders and electrodes to module and pack assembly—and has been sourced from industry leading manufacturers.

The facility is also part of the UK Faraday Battery Challenge, a government-backed programme that aims to speed up the development of cost-effective, high-performance, safe, durable, and green recyclable batteries.

“I’m delighted that three years after it was just a concept, UKBIC is already on its way to becoming a world-class battery manufacturing facility,” said Tony Harper, Industrial Strategy Challenge director at Faraday.

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