A report examining the UK chemical supply chain for battery manufacture has found that meeting the needs of UK-built vehicles alone could boost the industry by around £4.8 billion per year by 2030.
This forecast is based on the strong foundation of UK-based companies that are already embedded within global battery
supply chains. Currently, three fifths of a vehicle battery pack’s value is in the chemicals and materials; with the UK having some of the largest suppliers of materials to produce cathodes, anodes and electrolytes, the country
is well-placed to capitalise on this.
The report — produced by international sustainable-energy consultancy E4 Tech — points out that through strategic Government support, plus collaboration between the automotive and chemical sectors, there is a real opportunity to
expand the UK’s existing capabilities and grow capacity to support the volume production of batteries for domestic use — and for export.
The Government has already invested £246 million through the Faraday Battery Challenge; that has delivered valuable assets like the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre and provided invaluable opportunities for the chemical, battery and automotive sector to work together and learn from one another.
In order to realise this £4.8 billion supply chain opportunity, the Government will continue to have a critical role to play in supporting strategic investments in the UK battery and battery materials sectors, while also continuing to provide targeted funding for R&D that allows the UK chemical sector to co-develop battery technologies with its customers.
Ian Constance, CEO of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, said: “With transport shifting towards electrification, batteries are set to play a major part in our future propulsion mix.
“The report highlights the opportunities available to our automotive and chemical sectors to collaborate to make the UK the ‘go to’ place in Europe for battery cell manufacturing.
“We need to ensure that we have a rich and diverse supply chain here in the UK to anchor and attract automotive OEMs, supporting them to grow and flourish from the production of next-generation low-carbon vehicles.”
Dave Greenwood, professor of Advanced Propulsion Systems at the WMG, University of Warwick, said: “Automotive batteries will halve in cost, double in energy density and see 10-fold increases in manufacturing volumes before the end of the next decade, so we need high-quality advanced materials supplied in bulk.
“High-value opportunities exist in cathode powders, anode powders, electrolytes, collector foils and separators, and the supply chain to provide them is in its infancy.”