UK Startup Wants to Build Batteries for Boats

Lithium-ion battery cells. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg News)

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U.K. battery company Britishvolt Ltd. received an investment from shipping firm Scorpio Group as it looks to develop technologies to help decarbonize the maritime sector.

The funding is part of a partnership to develop battery technology for marine users, Britishvolt said in a statement May 18. The startup has previously focused on carmakers, partnering with Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc and Group Lotus Plc.

“The future of maritime propulsion and power storage is likely to lead the shipping industry to increasingly embrace battery power,” Britishvolt said in the statement.

The Global Maritime Forum estimates that fully decarbonizing the shipping sector by 2050 will require as much as $95 billion of investment per year starting in the next decade.

Britishvolt, which plans to open a gigafactory in northeast England next year, is competing for a slice of Europe’s burgeoning battery industry. The continent could have more than 450 gigawatt hours of commissioned cellmaking capacity by 2025, according to BNEF, with Britishvolt accounting for 35 gigawatt hours.

Britishvolt did not disclose the size of Scorpio’s investment, though the figure is less than 10 million pounds, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company previously received a 40 million-pound investment from Glencore as part of its Series C fundraising, as well as backing from the U.K. government.

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