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UK battery firm Britishvolt near collapse: reports
by AFP Staff Writers
London (AFP) Oct 31, 2022

Britishvolt, a UK firm developing a 3.8 billion pound factory to build batteries for electric vehicles, was on Monday on the brink of collapse, reports said.

The troubled battery start-up, championed by former prime minister Boris Johnson as part of his drive for a greener economy, has been developing the gigafactory in Blyth, northeastern England.

But it has been in emergency fundraising talks in recent weeks and could slide into insolvency as soon as Monday, the Financial Times said.

Accounting firm EY had been lined up to carry out the administration if it went ahead, sources told The Guardian.

In January 2021, Johnson hailed Britishvolt as an "EV (electric vehicle) battery pioneer" which would help spearhead his hoped-for "Green Industrial Revolution" to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

He pledged support understood to be around 100 million pounds, although the funding had reportedly not yet been paid.

Its location was significant as Blyth, a traditionally Labour-supporting area, made a shock switch to Johnson's Conservatives in the 2019 election fought on a promise to "Get Brexit Done".

Britishvolt had also received tens of millions of pounds of financial backing from FTSE 100 metals firm Glencore, which saw its shares dip on Monday morning.

The firm had signed an agreement to collaborate with British luxury car firm Aston Martin.

The sports car manufacturer is aiming to have its "core portfolio fully electrified by 2030".

Britishvolt has said it hoped to produce 300,000 electric vehicle batteries a year at Blyth.

It also said it was aiming to employ 3,000 people on the site with a further 5,000 jobs created indirectly.

"We are aware of market speculation. We are actively working on several potential scenarios that offer the required stability," a spokesman for Britishvolt told AFP.

"We have no further comment at this time," he added.

Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds called the possible insolvency "disastrous news" and a sign the government had failed to "grow our economy".

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A new startup, Quino Energy, aims to bring to market a grid-scale energy storage solution developed by Harvard researchers to facilitate more widespread adoption of renewable energy sources. About 12% of U.S. utility-scale electricity generation currently comes from wind and solar sources, which fluctuate with daily weather conditions. For wind and solar to play a greater role in the decarbonization of the electricity grid while reliably meeting consumer demand, grid operators recognize the need to depl ... read more

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