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Monday, January 30, 2023

PMbus vulnerabilities ... Solid state battery developments ... UK's ARIA research agency

News from eeNews Europe this week By Nick Flaherty

Vulnerabilities in PMbus can brick server boards

Technology News | January 29, 2023

Researchers in the UK have identified vulnerabilities in the power management bus (PMbus) for processors that can disable server boards.

ABB backs Swedish startup for AI analytics

Business news | January 29, 2023

ABB’s Distribution Solutions division is adopting technology from Swedish startup Viking Analytics for AI analytics and investing in the company.

Aragio Solutions joins Intel Foundry IP Alliance

Business news | January 27, 2023

Intel Foundry Services (IFS) has signed up Aragio Solutions for its IP Alliance programme. The collaboration with IFS enables designers to access…

UK establishes its ARIA research agency

Business news | January 27, 2023

The UK has formally established its ARIA science research agency with five new board members, heavily weighted towards the life…

£27m for next generation solid state silicon battery materials and recycling

Feature articles | January 28, 2023

The UK’s Faraday Battery Challenge has announced 12 projects worth over £27m (€35m) on…

Siemens teams for vertiport charging infrastructure

Business news | January 27, 2023

Siemens has teamed up with Skyway in California to develop designs for vertiports for…

Ultrathin layer boosts perovskite solar panel performance

Technology News | January 27, 2023

An ultrathin protective coating proves sufficient to protect a perovskite solar cell from…

Ilika, Nexeon team for UK silicon solid state batteries with BMW

Technology News | January 27, 2023

Ilika Technologies is teaming up with Nexeon and BMW to develop silicon-based solid state…

ELEO opens Dutch battery factory

Business news | January 26, 2023

ELEO in the Netherlands has opened a new battery plant in Helmond. His Majesty…

Compact unregulated 1W DC-DC converter for industrial applications

New Products | January 27, 2023

Traco Power has launched a compact 8pin unregulated, isolated 1W DC-DC converter for…

onsemi signs VW in strategic SiC deal

Business news | January 25, 2023

onsemi has signed up the world’s largest car maker for its silicon carbide power devices.

Australian firm bids for Britishvolt assets

Business news | January 25, 2023

Australian battery startup Recharge Industries is reported to be bidding for the assets of…

1.5kW AC-DC module for high voltage distributed power

New Products | January 25, 2023

TDK has launched a 1.5kW AC-DC module with power factor correction (PFC) for distributed…

Statevolt acquires site for US battery gigafactory

Business news | January 24, 2023

Statevolt, the sister company to Italvolt in Italy, has acquired a site for a…

UK deals drive renewable power spin off

Business news | January 24, 2023

Fusion power developer TAE has launched a renewable power management subsidiary from the acquisition…

Chip shortage hits UK car production

Market news | January 26, 2023

Chip shortages described as ‘crippling’ saw UK car production decline by -9.8% in 2022…

ST sees slower growth for 2023, maintains capital expenditure

Business news | January 26, 2023

Despite a year of 26% growth and capacity sold out for 2023, STMicroelectronics is…

IAR Systems fully supports PX5 RTOS

Business news | January 26, 2023

IAR Systems is providing  full support for the new PX5 real-time operating system (RTOS)…

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The collapse of Britishvolt

By Nick Flaherty

The final collapse of Britishvolt, the ill-fated battery gigafactory startup, is a lesson in the risks of relying on political support for major projects.

The startup had no technology and no customers, and so looked to government support and financial ‘engineering’ to leverage its way to produce battery cells for the emerging market of electric vehicle manufacturing.

Executives at the startup have blamed the press for the collapse, but it is exactly the lack of engagement with industry and the trade press, and a focus on influencing UK politicians in Westminster, that highlighted the precarious strategy.

The original project was set up in Wales with the support of the Welsh government, which has a history of understanding the importance of an industrial strategy. However it shifted its site to Blyth in Northumberland, a political move to attract funding.

 A deal that looked very much like a sale and lease back to capitalise on a factory that didn’t exist didn’t provide the funds, and the drive to create jobs and training also didn’t materialise. But by the time the venture collapsed, it was employing 232 people, a wage bill of well over £10m a year. All of that without a revenue stream in sight. For any experienced investor that rings alarm bells.


Behind the scenes the company was developing its own lithium ion battery technology. Backed by the Advanced Propulsion Centre and its Automotive Transformation Fund saw the development of the first prototype cells to show to potential customers.

“Britishvolt have been operating in a challenging landscape,” said Julian Hetherington, Automotive Transformation Director. “They have produced very credible ‘A’ Samples in volume and got them out to customers. They did that without grant funding, and have also leveraged the excellent UK university capability, and that vital piece of the UK’s ecosystem, UKBIC (UK Battery Industrialisation Centre). The UK environment can support these successes going forward. The technology developed is exciting, and we expect this to be of interest to the sector,” he said. 

This is similar to the approach taken by NorthVolt, the Swedish startup which has been developing its own technology, integrating recycled materials into its cells.

NorthVolt however was set up by a former executive of electric car maker Tesla and was careful to bring major car makers onboard as investors. Swedish car maker Volvo was a natural partner, but BMW and VW were also wooed to be part of the project. And financing from the European Investment Bank, with support form the European Commission, was key.


The potential base of customers was more of a challenge. Several reports have highlighted the need for a number of battery gigafactories in the UK to support the production of electric vehicles, especially with plans to stop sale of vehicles with internal combustion engines as early as 2030. However most of these will be produced by companies that already have a supply chain for their batteries.

BMW, which is moving production of its electric Mini from Oxford to continental Europe, has a number of battery suppliers, and is an investor in NorthVolt.

Vauxhall, as part of the PSA Group with Citroen and Peugeot, will be using Verkor. Stellantis will be using ACC. Toyota in Derby is the other major car maker, and has been building its own gigafactories in Japan and the US.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) was the main UK-based car maker, but it already has discussions with NorthVolt, Svolt and Envision and a relatively small volume of around 10,000 electric vehicles in 2021 and 2022. Just before the collapse of Britishvolt was announced, Tata, the Indian owner of JLR, announced it would make the batteries in Europe.

UK battery production

The collapse has led those same commentators to say that this leaves just one major battery factory in the UK, the plant being built by AESC Envision to support Nissan in Sunderland. This ignores the developments at AMTE Power, which is converting a smaller plant in Dundee. This has established technology for electric vehicles and existing customers in the storage market.

There is also Williams, newly owned by Australian mining giant Fortescue, which is set to open a battery factory in Oxfordshire in the next few weeks.

Other startups such as InoBat could also set up in the UK, but the lack of a coherent strategy and support is likely to kill that.


Meanwhile the large global battery makers are setting up in Hungary. Samsung led the way, converting a plasma TV factory to batteries back in 2016. Now there is a thriving ecosystem of manufacturing.


The final valuation of company in the last few weeks was just £32m, the exact value the company paid for its German equipment manufacturing subsidiary. Even that wasn’t enough to attract investors for a rescue deal, again showing that value creation hadn’t really happened.

Lessons have already been learned, Italvolt, set up by a former co-founder of Britishvolt, made sure it secured technology and customers through a deal with StoreDot. The deal could well lead to the supply of cells to StoreDot customer Volvo.

The technology that is needed has also moved on. For the timeframe of the gigafactory, solid state battery cells will be needed.

 All of this highlights the lack of a strategy that takes into account the lack of an open market. Technology and customers are the lifeblood of any startup, as my readers know only too well. Financiers and politicians need to pay attention, and a coherent industrial strategy in the UK is long overdue.

Monday, January 16, 2023

NASA's latest experimental space projects ... 6G terahertz chip ... immortal battery project at GE

Latest news at eeNews Europe by Nick Flaherty

GE to develop ‘immortal’ battery with self-healing metals

Technology News | January 15, 2023

Researchers at GE in the US are developing a solid state lithium ion battery cell that they say can have indefinite lifetime …

PneumoWave raises £7.5m for wireless respiratory biosensor

Business news | January 15, 2023

Digital health startup PneumoWave in Scotland has raised £7.5 million (€8.5m) for clinical trials of its wireless respiratory biosensor technology…

$50,000 prize in Single Board Computer competition

Business news | January 14, 2023

Board distributor OKdo has launched an engineering competition around the Rock single board computer (SBC) with a prize of $50,000…

ST launches its most affordable 32bit microcontroller

News | January 12, 2023

STMicroelectronics has started volume production of its lowest cost 32bit microcontroller, the STM32C0. 

Britishvolt in crunch meeting

Business news | January 12, 2023

UK battery gigafactory developer Britishvolt is holding a key board meeting tomorrow (Friday 13th…

Infineon sells its high reliability DC-DC power business

Business news | January 10, 2023

In a shock move, Infineon Technologies in Germany is to sell its US-based hi-rel…

450kW EV charger gives 400km range in 15 minutes

Technology News | January 13, 2023

A German project has developed a fast charger design that can provide 400km of…

Solid Power to develop nickel- and cobalt-free batteries

Technology News | January 12, 2023

Solid Power in the US has been granted funding from the Department of Energy…

Low power 8pin microcontroller aims at power designs

New Products | January 12, 2023

Renesas Electronics has launched a general-purpose low power 16bit microcontroller (MCU) family in a…

$42m boost for US battery research

Technology News | January 11, 2023

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $42 million in funding for 12…

Siemens teams for digital twins and AI in vertical farms

News | January 12, 2023

Siemens is to provide hardware and software, including a digital twin model and machine…

Showa Denko renames and restructures, extends Infineon SiC deal

Business news | January 12, 2023

Resonac (formerly Showa Denko) in Japan has extended its deal for silicon carbide (SiC)…

TDK, TI team on edge AI module with wireless mesh

New Products | January 13, 2023

TDK has teamed up with Texas Instruments on a compact, battery-powered wireless multi-sensor module…

6G terahertz waveform synthesis in a photonic chip

Technology News | January 13, 2023

Researchers at EPFL and ETH Zurich in Switzerland have developed a thin-film photonic chip…

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Power trends for 2023 ... 2mm printed battery for smart label ... 2Gbit/s LiFi for trains

By Nick Flaherty

Top articles from CES 2023

Feature articles | January 7, 2023

The Consumer Electronics Show 2023 saw a raft of new chips, company splits and acquisitions and a radical plan to…



Semtech sees US approval for Sierra Wireless deal

Business news | January 6, 2023

Semtech expects its $1.2bn acquisition of Sierra Wireless to complete next week after the end of the waiting period under…

Renesas commits to Matter support on all its wireless chips

Business news | January 6, 2023

Renesas Electronics has launched its first development kit that includes support for the new Matter protocol at CES 2023.

NXP launches i.MX95 AI-enabled edge processor

New Products | January 5, 2023

NXP Semiconductors has launched its flagship AI-enabled i.MX 95 edge microprocessor. The i.MX 95, launched at CES 2023 this…

2Gbit/s LiFi aims for trains

Technology News | January 6, 2023

French LiFi pioneer Oledcomm has doubled the speed of its second generation light-based communications technology, aiming it as transportation…

OKdo, OStream team on edge AI supercomputers

Business news | January 6, 2023

Board distributor OKdo has licensed streaming software that runs AI video and audio processing at the edge of the network…



Apple tech drives Qi2 standard for faster wireless charging

Technology News | January 6, 2023

The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) is planning to launch a second generation Qi2…

Three way deal for wireless power to RF ePaper tags

News | January 6, 2023

Ossia has signed a strategic three way deal to supply its wireless power technology…

AirFuel launches standard for RF wireless power transfer

Technology News | January 6, 2023

The AirFuel Alliance has released a global interoperable specification for RF-based wireless power transfer…

Compact 240W adapter reference design uses TO-220 GaN FETs

Technology News | January 8, 2023

Transphorm has developed a reference design for a 240W AC-DC power adapter using through-hole…

Printed battery enables 2mm thin smart label

Technology News | January 5, 2023

A group of European companies have developed a smart label that is just 2mm…

1700V Silicon Carbide family targets renewables, drives

New Products | January 4, 2023

onsemi is launching three 1700V silicon carbide (SiC) devices as part of its newly…

Landis+Gyr, MicroEJ team on smart meters apps

Business news | January 3, 2023

MicroEJ has teamed up with European smart meter maker Landis+Gyr to expand the app…

Infineon teams for battery-free wireless smart locks

Business news | January 2, 2023

Infineon Technologies has added NuCurrent in Chicago to its Preferred Partner programme to boost…

Five power trends for 2023

Feature articles | January 1, 2023