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Northern Scandinavia: Potential for green battery business?

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As dozens of new lithium-ion battery factories are already under construction in Europe, and many more are planned, Panasonic and Equinor have been investigating the potential for a green battery business in Norway.

Japanese company Panasonic is said to have signed a memorandum of understanding with Equinor and industrial group Hydro for the potential endeavour – and this news comes off the back of the announcement that start-up company FREYR has secured around $14m in pre-construction financing. The development will be Norway’s first gigawatt scale lithium battery manufacturing facility.

The assessment on the European market will take place this summer

Panasonic makes lithium-ion batteries in partnership with Tesla, as well as at its own facilities, and the organisation has said that it will work with Equinor and Hydro in the summer to make an assessment on the European market. It’s thought that the lithium-ion batteries will be used for electric vehicles and other applications.

No decisions will be made until the assessment has been conducted, and the strategic partners are also thought to be considering the potential for establishing an integrated battery value chain, in addition to co-locating supply chain partners.

Battery storage is expected to play an increasingly important role in bringing energy systems to net zero emissions – by pooling different areas of energy expertise, companies will seek to create a battery business that is profitable, scalable and sustainable.

Meanwhile, start-up FREYR is targeting ‘rapid development’ of an initial 2GWh fab to begin construction this year, as part of a two-phase plan to build a further 34GWh of production; the company is said to have already signed deals for –

  • Renewable energy
  • Raw materials
  • Equipment
  • Technology
  • Frameworks for project management
  • Automation processes

FREYR’s agreement with 24M – which claims its cell design and production processes allow for low-cost and modular manufacturing processes – was signed at the end of 2020. And it’s thought that 24M’s proprietary process uses electrodes 3-5 times thicker than those found in other lithium-ion batteries – potentially reducing the cost of manufacturing by as much as 50% over competitors.

The deal with FREYR will see the Norwegian company pay upfront and licensing fees to produce and cell battery cells, with licensing and service agreements currently being finalised by the pair. In late October, FREYR also signed an MoU with silicon-based advanced materials company Elkem for commercial supply of anode active materials (AAM) to the first factory under development.

The use of thicker semisolid electrodes is expected to significantly reduce the use of materials and capital investment compared to incumbent battery cell designs in addition to providing robust abuse tolerance, long life, 100% quality traceability and unique recycling attributes.


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