Lithium batteries will be a key part of the UK’s net-zero energy transition, playing a role in storing renewable energy sources and powering cars.

The UK’s first lithium factory, which aims to supply European electric car and battery makers, has secured new investment.

The refinery, which is being developed in northern England by Green Lithium, will receive feedstock – a raw material used in processing – from Trafigura, one of the world’s largest metals traders.

Trafigura also plans to sell the finished product made by the 50,000 tonne-a-year plant to customers in Europe.

Most of the world’s lithium comes from rocks found in Australia or from salt lakes in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.

Much of it is then shipped and processed in China, often using fossil fuels.