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August, 1st 2021

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JUN 14
16:02

Britishvolt, ENTEK start partnership on battery separator technology

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UK’s electric vehicle battery start-up Britishvolt is planning a long-term battery separator supply deal with US-based ENTEK Membranes, including a co-located separator plant.

The companies announced on Monday they have entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding for the possible supply agreement, with a potential ENTEK facility co-located at the Britishvolt gigafactory in Northumberland. A battery separator is a polymeric membrane placed between the positively charged anode and negatively charged anode to prevent an electrical short circuit.

ENTEK, which already has a manufacturing site in Killingworth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, would first install a coating operation at or near to its current facility. This proposed initial plant would serve Britishvolt’s early-stage battery production. The core separator material would be supplied by ENTEK’s US production facility, until a final investment decision is made on building a battery separation production in the UK – which would be the first separator production plant in the country.

“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 30+ gigawatt hour factory in the UK,” says ENTEK’s ceo Larry Keith.

Graeme Fraser-Bell, vice president, lithium sales & market development, at ENTEK told Kallanish the company plans “on having capacity in place to supply Britishvolt/UKBIC with ceramic coated Li-ion battery separators in Q3 2023 and then ramping up in lock-step from then to meet Britishvolt separator requirements for their 10 GWh, 20 GWh and 30 GWh milestones.”

Britishvolt’s chief strategy officer Isobel Sheldon defends the collaboration “fits perfectly” with the company’s ESG-mandated business model, as it would shorten the supply chain and carbon footprint of its cells.

“Battery manufacturing is hugely energy intensive, and to be able to co-locate facilities where there is an abundance of renewable energy is a major boon for both the industry and society. We are aiming to produce some of the most low carbon, sustainable lithium-ion battery cells on the planet, and partnerships such as this will help us meet our goals,” she adds.

Speaking to Kallanish, Britishvolt’s chairman Peter Rolton explained the company has access to “a variety of renewables sources including offshore wind, hydro from the North Sea Link and a large solar farm we will be building.” There are now power purchase agreements in place at this moment, but Britishvolt is engaging with possible suppliers.

“Will all of the electrons used to power the plant be green? Yes, they will,” adds Rolton.

The cell manufacturer expects to achieve full production by the end of 2027.

Gabriela Farhangi UK