Britishvolt, the UK’s battery start-up, is joining forces with a wealthy Indonesian family as it seeks to obtain a nickel supply for its huge Giga plant in Northumberland.
Under the agreement, Britishvolt will first work with the Bakries-controlled industrial conglomerate to develop a plant capable of producing a nickel compound that can be used by battery manufacturers.
Following the construction of the Nickel Sulfate facility, both sides will test the potential to develop a 15GW gigabyte plant in Indonesia.
“The deal gives us nickel security from the largest source in the world,” said Timon Orlov, Britishvolt’s chief operating officer.
Nickel is a key component in More powerful batteries Used by electric vehicle manufacturers and the war in Ukraine has raised new concerns about security of supply.
Russia is the largest producer of nickel at the battery level, accounting for about 15% of world supplies.
Fears that supplies could be disrupted by Western sanctions have contributed to an unusual jump in nickel prices to more than $ 100,000 per tonne, which has forced a week-long halt in trading on the London Metal Exchange.
Battery manufacturers are now trying to obtain nickel supplies from other parts of the world. Northvolt, the European battery-backed startup of Volkswagen, said last week that it would purchase nickel-carbon for its batteries from Canadian mines owned by Vale.
Tesla’s boss Elon Musk also expressed concerns about a future nickel supply, promising huge long-term contracts for companies that can mine the metal in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
The International Energy Agency estimates that demand for nickel will have to increase 19-fold by 2040 if the world wants to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo is interested in taking advantage of these trends and hopes to make the country a global center for nickel processing and battery production.
However, most projects are developed in the country Use charcoal electricity. Britishvolt said it would bring its stringent environmental, social and governmental standards into partnership with Bakries & Brothers. He says the proposed nickel sulfate plant will eventually be powered by renewable energy.
The billionaire Bakri family is best known in the UK for their controversial 2010 plan to set up a world-class mining group in partnership with British financier Nathaniel Rothschild. However, the deal quickly heated up during a recession in the commodity markets and Rothschild They eventually ran out in 2015.
Britishvolt raised Funding of around £ 1.7 billion From the warehouse supplier Tritax and the Abrdn investment group to build its plant in Balith. This investment was supported by £ 100 million from the UK Government’s vehicle modification fund.
The company’s shareholders include the Swiss miner and commodity trader Glencore, which has a Britishvolt Cobalt Supplier Agreement, Metal extra key battery. Britishvolt hopes to open its plant in 2023, though it has not yet publicly unveiled its internal battery developments.
Speaking at the FT Commodities summit in Lausanne last week, Uralj Najari, founder and CEO of Britishvolt, said he would look into all options for securing raw materials for batteries, including investing in junior reactors.
“The smaller companies are the ones that sat with assets,” he said.
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