A PENRYN company has been awarded over £680,000 to investigate the feasibility of developing a lithium extraction plant that will support the future of green automotive manufacturing and accelerate the UK’s transition to net-zero emission vehicles.

The grant comes as part of £9.4 million of funding guided by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to 22 studies looking to scale up the industrialisation of low-carbon emission vehicle technologies.

Lithium Hydroxide is an essential part of vehicle battery production. In this study, Cornish Lithium, based in Penryn, will assess the feasibility of developing a sustainable UK supply chain through the construction of a new lithium extraction plant in Cornwall that will produce low-carbon, battery quality lithium hydroxide from a hard rock source.

Jeremy Wrathall, Founder & CEO of Cornish Lithium said: “Cornish Lithium is delighted to have secured this funding, given that it will materially accelerate our plans to develop a secure domestic supply of lithium for the UK. We look forward to working with the ATF on this exciting project.”

This is the second round of funding awarded as part of the APC’s Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) which will see 22 companies from across the UK assess the feasibility of local battery production, the development of motors & drives and fuel cell technologies as well as recycling solutions.

The studies will be commercially-led and evaluate the viability of developing large-scale manufacturing facilities, advanced manufacturing processes and the product scale-up of essential technologies for a future net-zero vehicle supply chain.

Julian Hetherington, Automotive Transformation Director at the APC said: “This funding is a great start in supporting companies like Cornish Lithium as we look to develop a sustainable UK-based supply chain of lithium hydroxide for use in vehicle batteries.

“The UK has a long legacy of automotive manufacturing success and the industry is now moving at pace towards greener manufacturing and net-zero emission technologies. The funding awarded through the Automotive Transformation Fund is aimed at ensuring the UK continues to be a world-leader in a prosperous net-zero carbon future.”

Launched in July 2020, the ATF builds on the significant R&D base supported through the APC since 2013, helping to form the last part of the bridge into industrialisation at scale. The programme can provide support for investment in the key technology areas of batteries, fuel cells, motors, drives and power electronics, working to develop their upstream supply chains as well as circling back to address the opportunities around recycling technologies to enable the UK to be globally competitive.

To find out more about the 22 studies receiving funding and how the APC is supporting the future of the UK automotive industry visit www.apcuk.co.uk