Humber Refinery gigafactory: Britain's best-kept industrial secret is an unexpected solution to saving the planet - Deepstash

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<p>From the outside, the Humbe...

From the outside, the Humber Refinery does not look like a part of Britain's green future - and that's putting it mildly.

This is the very image of the country's fossil fuel industry, a mammoth plant that churns out petrol, aviation fuel and other such products.

But it will also feature aspects we might be a little less comfortable with: digging vast quantities of stuff out of the ground, racing to secure resources before other countries do; and relying on oil refineries like this, both in the short term and potentially the long term too.

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14 reads

<p>From the outside, the Humbe...

From the outside, the Humber Refinery does not look like a part of Britain's green future - and that's putting it mildly.

This is the very image of the country's fossil fuel industry, a mammoth plant that churns out petrol, aviation fuel and other such products. It is a spaghetti junction of pipes - thousands of miles of shiny steel tubes snaking from canister to tank and back again.

But it will also feature aspects we might be a little less comfortable with: digging vast quantities of stuff out of the ground, racing to secure resources before other countries do; and relying on oil refineries like this, both in the short term and potentially the long term too.

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1 read

Britishvolt - the gigafactory in Blyth

Britishvolt - the gigafactory in Blyth

Just over a hundred miles north of the Humber Refinery is the town of Blyth. Here on the glorious Northumberland coast, at a site which was once the coal store for a now defunct power station, work is under way on one of the most important projects in contemporary UK industrial history.

This is the site where Britishvolt, a battery startup, is building its gigafactory. in broad terms it means a very big battery factory.

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<p>Britishvolt remains a new, ...

Britishvolt remains a new, untested company, attempting to take on an Asian industry which has successfully dominated the sector for years. Only last year Johnson Matthey, the catalyst specialist which was until then one of the great hopes of the UK's nascent cell sector, abruptly pulled out of its plans to make battery materials.

According to a dossier of figures submitted privately to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and seen by Sky News, gigafactory capacity is forecast to be barely half the needed level by the end of the decade.

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What do they make at the Humber Refinery?

Much is made these days about the lithium inside batteries or the cobalt that also goes into the cathodes. Far less is said about the other end of the battery. Yet without the kind of graphite produced from Humberside coke (and this refinery turns out to be one of the world's most important producers of the stuff - and the only one in Europe) net zero will remain a pipe dream.

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This country is unlikely to outdo Germany on gigafactories. It is unlikely to compete with Belgium's Umicore on cathode materials. It is unlikely, despite the best efforts of British Lithium, to outdo Chile or Australia.

But it could plausibly be the most important hub in Europe for anode production. If there were a factory beside this refinery turning the coke here into anodes, which are then sent a few hundred miles up north to Britishvolt, well then a lot of Britain's problems might be answered.

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2 reads

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