Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has welcomed the news that Sembcorp Energy UK has signed a deal to push forward the production of batteries for electric vehicles.

The company is working exclusively with an investment company whose subsidiary Tees Valley Lithium plans to bring their electric vehicle grade Lithium Hydroxide Chemical Processing Plant to Wilton International, within the Teesside freeport zone, supporting 500 jobs during construction and 250 when in operation.

Mayor Houchen said: “This fantastic news is yet another UK-first coming to Teesside as we continue to lead the country’s net zero ambitions.

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“It’s yet another example of how Teesside Freeport is paying off right now, securing the investment and creating hundreds of good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people in the cleaner, healthier and safer industries of the future.

“The message to the low carbon sector is clear – if you want to do business, we’re the place to be.”

Alkemy has signed a six-month exclusivity agreement with SEUK, in respect of the land where it wants to construct the UK’s first lithium hydroxide plant.

On the 20-acre plot, the plant will support the processing of chemical elements used in batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) – a technology playing a key part in the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy. The plant will have an initial capacity of 24,000 tonnes per annum of lithium hydroxide, to be sold in the energy storage markets.

Sembcorp has an established “plug and play” infrastructure at Wilton International that will enable the additional benefits of the Teesside freeport to be realised quickly. Tees Valley Lithium will have the electricity, steam and water they need as soon as they are operational.

Andy Koss, CEO, UK & Middle East, Sembcorp Industries, said, “I’m delighted that Tees Valley Lithium has chosen Wilton International for their new plant, having been attracted by the benefits of the Teesside freeport and the readily-available connectivity of our site. We welcome new customers and new low-carbon jobs that are supporting the UK’s transition to net zero, similar to Sembcorp’s strategic goals.”

A spokesperson for Tees Valley Lithium said: “We are excited to be coming to Wilton International – the site, within the new Teesside freeport zone, is ideally located with such close proximity to the port. We’re proud to be joining Teesside and contributing to the green regeneration of the North East on the path to net zero.”

The timeline for the operation has been set out, culminating in construction finishing at the end of 2023.

Q1 2022: Class 4 Capex and Opex study completed. Capex are a company’s major, long-term expenses while operating expenses (Opex) are day-to-day expenses.

Q3 2022: FEED (front end engineering design) contract completed

Q3 2022 to Q2 2023: Procurement

Q4 2022: Financing

Q4 2022 to Q4 2023: Main construction


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