In collaboration Wood and Green Lithium will play an essential role in the mission to make ‘net zero’ a reality, together we will build not just the UK’s first lithium refinery but more importantly a fairer, socially sustainable, net-zero carbon economy.

The UK Government’s ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 will be key to achieving climate change targets. Announcing the ban was the easy bit. As with anything worth doing, implementing it and ensuring a smooth transition to low-emission vehicles will require considerable effort. That’s where we come in.

According to the Department for Transport, there were 542,000 vehicles registered for the first time between July and September 2021; yet just 83,000 of them were zero-emission battery electric vehicles (EVs). There is a myriad of reasons for this – from charging structure to affordability – but one significant barrier to quickly expanding the adoption of EVs remains security (and ease) of battery supply.

There is still much more needed to help drive the EV revolution forward and, with that, significantly reduce carbon emissions to safeguard our planet. We at Green Lithium are focused on increasing and diversifying the supply of low-carbon lithium chemicals: a critical component of the batteries that power EVs.

At present, there is no large-scale commercial refining capability in Europe. This leaves the continent’s rapidly growing EV and sustainable energy storage sectors wholly reliant on battery-grade lithium chemicals from East Asia, a market which is fast-growing and increasingly consuming its own supply.

Experts predict that by 2030 the UK and European EV industries will require an annual supply 600,000 tonnes of refined lithium chemicals to meet announced targets. This means we need growth of more than 400% in supply over the next eight years. That demand will not be met by the refining capacity that is currently available or planned and that’s the gap we hope to close.

Green Lithium’s plan – which is progressing at pace – is to build and operate the UK’s first large-scale commercial lithium refinery and battery recycling plant to accelerate the move towards zero-emission vehicles and create major opportunities in our economy.

We believe passionately that materials recycling and a strong circular economy must be part of the long-term solution for the energy transition. We are committed to working with Wood and our other partners to deliver an engineering solution that integrates and promotes battery recycling as part of our refining process.

We are delighted to have brought on Wood as our Owner’s Engineer. Using the company’s extensive experience of delivering refineries across the world, Wood will oversee the engineering, construction and commissioning of our refinery.

In filling the missing link in the EV supply chain, Green Lithium will deploy a sustainable, low-carbon refining process. We will offer a source of refined lithium that is cleaner and far closer to home than the current processes offered by international suppliers.

Our work will allow UK and EU EV manufacturers to meet the anticipated strict ESG obligations of the EU’s incoming Battery Regulation, as well as meet the Rules of Origin thresholds required to avoid tariffs under the UK-EU post-Brexit trading agreement; we are an enabler of both UK-based and European production.

Our planned refinery represents a cornerstone industrial asset for the establishment of Battery Britain and the UK’s green economy which will directly enable localised UK-EU battery and EV manufacturing through security of critical materials. It will create more than 1,000 direct jobs through construction and 200 long-term green jobs once operational, as well as many more indirectly through the supply chain. The refinery will also develop mineral processing and battery recycling expertise in the UK and support longer-term growth in the green industrial sector.

Green Lithium will advance the UK’s ambition to be at the forefront of the electric revolution, and build a greener and more sustainable future.

Richard Taylor is founding director of Green Lithium, a lithium chemicals company with plans to build and operate the first large-scale commercial lithium refinery and battery recycling plant in the UK

Any parties interested in participating in the Series A funding round should contact Roberto Castiglioni of Ikigai Capital (roberto.castiglioni@ikigai-capital.co.uk)