Britishvolt pledges to use UK-made steel for gigaplant

Britishvolt, which is aiming to build the UK’s first electric vehicle (EV) battery gigafactory, has signed the UK Steel Charter, pledging to source UK-manufactured steel for the planned gigaplant in Blythe, Northumberland.

UK Steel said in a Feb. 11 statement that Britishvolt’s pledge showed that the commercial sector was recognizing “the benefits of UK-sourced steel, strong and resilient domestic supply chains, and the numerous economic and social benefits of buying UK-made steel.”

The UK Steel Charter was launched by the industry in May 2019 and aims to promote the use of UK-produced steel in public projects.

Britishvolt aims to start construction of the GBP2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) gigaplant in summer 2021. It will be built on a 95-hectare site that formerly housed the Blyth Power Station.

The project, the largest auto-related investments in the UK since the 1980s, is expected to start producing batteries at scale by the end of 2023.

UK Steel Director General Gareth Stace said that Britishvolt using UK-made steel for the construction of the Blyth gigaplant did not just make business sense, but also made economic and social sense for the country and for environmental commitments to not import steel over vast distances when it could be made domestically.

“Britishvolt is a prime example of the UK’s Green Industrial Revolution, and it makes sense that has therefore chosen to embed its environmental ideals in every step of this project — using steel produced on its doorstep and to the highest environmental standards,” he said.

Britishvolt Chairman Peter Rolton said that using UK-sourced steel would further strengthen the company’s ambitions to minimize its carbon footprint and build world-class technologies in the UK.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, issues such as local supply chains have been thrust into the spotlight,” Rolton said. “We at Britishvolt have a mission to create some of the world’s must sustainable electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries. Being part of the charter further advances our Environmental, Social and Governance ambitions.”

The gigaplant will exclusively use renewable energy, including the potential to use hydro-electric power generated in Norway and transmitted 447 miles under the North Sea via the world’s longest inter-connector from the North Sea Link project.

— Jacqueline Holman