A COMPANY developing the next generation of batteries has taken a major step forward after opening a full-scale production plant.

Nexeon, is set to start manufacturing 20 tonnes of batteries a year at its state-of-the-art plant at Milton Park, near Didcot, with customers ranging from car manufacturers to producers of mobile telephones, computers and tablets.

And should the company win major contracts for its products, which can double the life of a conventional battery, the firm will see its current 50-strong workforce increase by a further 25 staff.

Chief executive Scott Brown said that when it is running at full capacity, the plant which cost in the region of £5m, will operate using a three-shift system.

He added: “We made the decision to build the plant several years ago knowing we would need a facility once we got beyond our initial sampling phase.”

Mr Brown said the intention was to focus on consumer devices as lead-in times were shorter than with vehicle manufacturers looking for batteries to power electric cars.

“It was always our intention to focus on consumer devices but we still have a close collaboration with an automotive company in Japan which we hope will follow through.

“That would be very significant as we would be looking to build a 500 tonne plant.”

Nexeon’s technology replaces carbon currently used in batteries with a form of silicon, removing an “energy transmission bottleneck.”

Mr Brown said: “We hope to double the working times of battery charges and we can also make lighter batteries, which is interesting consumer device manufacturers.”