WSP in Africa is helping clients, including investors, manufacturers and infrastructure providers to meet the huge and growing demand for affordable, sustainable batteries.
Leveraging renewable energy and the related energy storage solutions is critical in achieving NetZero by 2030.
International demand for batteries is expected to increase from 185 GWh in 2020 to over 2 000 GWh by 2030, according to Statista.com. With demand on the rise in industry, from consumer electronics to electric vehicle manufacturing, the global lithium-ion battery market is projected to grow from USD44.49-billion in 2021 to USD193.13-billion by 2028.
WSP’s ability draws on international expertise to offer a full spectrum of world class engineering, environmental sustainability advisory and implementation services see the firm’s Battery Manufacturing Plant experts delivering projects around the globe.
“Our integrated teams across Sweden, United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and India are currently involved in multiple projects – both greenfields and brownfields,” says Peter Hodgkinson, director for strategic growth and major projects, WSP in Africa. “We are providing expertise from investment and strategic advisory services, site selection and due diligence, project delivery and management, integrated design approach, procurement advisory and support services, construction monitoring, commissioning management of battery manufacturing facilities, utilities and supporting infrastructure.”
“For battery plants to be viable, certain conditions must be in place,” says Hodgkinson. “Government incentives and tax relief, access to sufficient clean energy and proximity to end-user demand are key. The current projects WSP is working on are located in Europe, the Middle East and the US, where these conditions are well met.”
The plants themselves are technically complex, requiring deep knowledge in the new generation of gigafactories, as well as specialist expertise in clean and dry room design and implementation. “WSP is recognised as a major player in the design and delivery of gigafactories, and particularly in clean and dry rooms,” says Diederik Venter, associate engineer and clean and dry room specialist, WSP Africa. “Our expertise has been honed across multiple industries, such as pharmaceuticals, where this kind of facility is critical to the manufacturer’s success. Applying this subject matter expertise to ensure ultra clean, dust and contaminant free, pressurised and temperature- and humidity-controlled environments is critical to the battery manufacturing process.”
Battery design, and therefore the design of battery plants, is a rapidly evolving industry. “We believe that to truly drive industry growth, it’s essential to embrace innovation, future-readiness and prepare for the changing landscape. We therefore collaborate closely with clients to ensure their battery manufacturing plants are designed with scalability and adaptability in mind,” says Venter.
“The engineers working on these projects must be able to deal with frequent and rapid change without compromising on quality. Our teams’ experience in automotive manufacturing, rapid structural prototyping, sustainability and circularity allows us to bring all these areas of specialist knowledge into play so that we can meet the demands of these often-complex projects.”
Keeping circular economy principles in mind is vital to ensuring battery manufacturing plants support clients’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. “We make a point of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials at their highest possible value and regenerating natural systems,” says Hodgkinson. “This helps to drive clean growth, preserve natural capital and reduce waste, achieve net zero goals, reduce cost and improve industrial resilience.”
“The goal is to eliminate value leakage across the resource lifecycle, while creating industrial symbioses and regenerating natural capital,” Hodgkinson explains. “One brownfields project is located on the site of an old papermill, for example, and here we are working with our client towards an integrated solution that reuses as much of the existing buildings, services and equipment at the facility as possible with the aim of potentially attaining Living Building accreditation.”