UK deals for vanadium redox flow merger and electric vehicles announced

English partners appear to be in demand with a London-based vanadium flow supplier tying up with a U.S. partner just as an automotive design company in Coventry announces plans for electric and hydrogen vehicle production in the West Midlands.

March 17, 2020

With the need for urgent sector coupling to drive down emissions increasingly under focus, the U.K. has witnessed two recent announcements related to electric transport and energy storage.

London-based redT energy and Avalon Battery Corp, from Oakland, California, have announced plans for a £57.7 million (€63.4 million) merger to form the transatlantic Invinity Energy Systems vanadium redox flow battery manufacturer with the partners stating an intent to focus on solar-plus-storage grid scale projects around the world.

The merger was structured as a reverse takeover of listed company Avalon by private concern redT on a share-for-share basis, the Greenhouse PR company tasked with announcing the deal told pv magazine today. The new business will be headquartered in the U.K. and Canada, added the PR firm.

Pipeline

It was claimed Invinity has a 40-plus global project portfolio and a development pipeline that includes the supply of vanadium flow batteries to the £41 million Energy Superhub Oxford project launched in April. The English initiative will feature the installation of high-voltage cables to encourage electric vehicle (EV) take-up, including the electrification of the Oxford City Council fleet; ground source heat pumps to replace conventional electric and gas heating in more than 400 properties; and a grid scale hybrid battery. The battery system for the three-year project which is due to go live this year features a 2 MW Invinity vanadium flow device alongside a 50 MW lithium-ion battery to be supplied by Finnish energy company Wärtsilä.

The vanadium-flow company merger is aimed at uniting Avalon’s tech with redT’s “commercial business models”, according to a press release announcing the tie up yesterday.

The English company last year joined forces with Norwegian renewables business Statkraft to offer the first power purchase agreement-based vanadium-flow-plus-solar commercial solution for U.K. businesses. RedT’s vanadium flow systems were also, in 2019, the first of their kind to pre-qualify to offer dynamic firm frequency response services to the U.K. electricity transmission network.

Avalon delivered North America’s first vanadium redox flow battery project.

Electric buses

Elsewhere in England, automotive design and manufacturing company CAD CAM today announced the establishment of a joint venture to produce electric buses and commercial delivery vans.

CAD CAM, based in Coventry in the English West Midlands, will link up with Belarussian EV manufacturer BKM Holding to produce the first 300 of the new 300 Series electric buses in Coventry next year, under the Wave Industries JV. Annual production is slated to rise to 800 buses by 2025, with Wave having created 600 jobs in Coventry by that point.

Wave Industries CEO Martyn Wheeler said: “We will export the electric vehicles to Commonwealth countries and talks are already under way to supply the electric buses to Egypt and Nigeria”.

The EV manufacturer also claims to have completed proof of concept for an hydrogen fuel cell-powered commercial electric van which is also slated for release next year. Wheeler said Wave was seeking a U.K. retailer or logistics partner to work with it on that model.

This article was amended on 17/03/20 to add details given by Greenhouse PR about the structure of the merger.