Scorpio Group has made a strategic investment in UK electric vehicle battery start-up Britishvolt amid plans to target the maritime sector.

The funding is part of a partnership to develop the technology for marine users, Britishvolt said on Wednesday.

“The future of maritime propulsion and power storage is likely to lead the shipping industry to increasingly embrace battery power,” it added.

Filippo Lauro, Scorpio Group vice president and brother of chief executive Emanuele Lauro, said: “The battery pioneer’s leadership position and access to the UK’s cutting-edge scientific community ensure that we will be able to work together to further accelerate green propulsion and potentially power storage solutions for maritime.”

David Morant, managing director of Scorpio UK, added: “The UK is a seafaring nation and also a world leader in battery and maritime innovation. This partnership will further solidify that leadership.

“The Scorpio Group looks forward to building on its decades of maritime innovation together with Britishvolt.”

The companies did not disclose the size of the investment, but media reports suggested that it was in the “single-digit millions” of pounds.

Kasra Pezeshki, Britishvolt’s chief investment officer, said: “The investment by Scorpio is a clear endorsement of Britishvolt’s vision for 2050, whereby not only electric vehicles adopt our low-carbon sustainable battery cell capacity, but also maritime and aviation.

“These more polluting, heavy-duty modes of transport need to look at best solutions for lowering emissions. Britishvolt batteries can play an integral part in that.”

Britishvolt recently signed a deal with Indonesia’s Bakrie & Brothers for the supply of nickel sulphate for importation into the UK.

In March, Britishvolt launched a Series C funding round with a starting investment of £40m ($49.6m) from trading giant Glencore.

The start-up has previously focused on carmakers, partnering Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings and Group Lotus.

Britishvolt aims to build the UK’s first battery gigaplant in Northumberland, north-eastern England, in an investment said to be worth £2.6bn.

Construction work was due to start last year, and the first lithium-ion batteries are scheduled to be produced at the end of 2023.

In February 2021, TradeWinds reported that Scorpio had taken a major stake in Norwegian battery-cell manufacturer Freyr Battery, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

It was reported to have invested in excess of $20m, making it one of the top 10 holders in Freyr Battery, alongside the Koch family, Glencore and Fidelity.