This Week in Batteries – Week 23

Welcome to this week’s battery roundup. The most important news surrounding battery technology and production from Europe and beyond.

Northvolt Raises € 2.26 billion to expand Swedish Battery Production

Swedish battery supplier Northvolt has secured € 2.26 billion in funding. The Investors include the Swedish pension funds, Goldmann Sachs Asset Management, and Volkswagen, who contributed around € 500 Million.

Northvolt Ett in Skellefteå, Sweden. Credit: VW Group

Volkswagen continues to hold around 20% of Northvolt’s shares. The funds allow the Swedish cell producer to expand the capacity of its Northvolt Ett Gigafactory in Skellefteå, northern Sweden, from 40 GWh to 60 GWh per year.

“Batteries are one of the key success factors in our unprecedented electric offensive. In the major area of green battery cells, we are assuming a pioneering role in Germany and Europe together.”

Thomas Schmall, Group Board Member for Technology and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components

German Engineering Service Provider IAV Presents Easy-to-Recycle Battery Concept

Berlin-based IAV presented its design for an easy-to recycle battery pack this week. The battery pack features click and plug-in connections to facilitate the disassembly process. Also, the casing is made of steel which can be recycled much less energy-intensively than aluminium. The company claims these improvements can decrease the cost of producing and recycling the peripheral elements by up to 50 percent compared to conventional battery systems. The battery system can be used for existing and future EVs.

Will European Automakers Soon Source Sustainable Lithium from Chile?

Volkswagen Group, BASF, Daimler AG, and Fairphone launched a partnership for sustainable lithium mining in Chile’s Salar de Atacama. The „Responsible Lithium Partnership“ is a platform that aims to include more stakeholders in the decision-making for future mining projects. At the moment, there are no concrete plans for the mining of lithium.

The initiative was already started in the spring of 2021. The companies have commissioned the GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation) with the coordination of the exchange platform.

Bloomberg NEF’s EV Outlook Provides Insight into the Future of European Battery Production

Bloomberg’s New Energy Forum has recently published its EV outlook, an “annual long-term publication looking at how electrification, shared mobility, and autonomous driving will impact road transport from now out to 2050”.

Policies are required for EVs to prevail

The report features figures on EV sales, lithium pricing, and electricity demand. It also includes forecasts of the European battery landscape: the authors predict a 14-fold increase in battery demand in the next 15 years as well as a price of $100/kWh by 2024.

Cornish Lithium Geothermal Water Test Site Ready

British company Cornish Lithium said the water test site and a demonstration plant in Cornwall are now ready to start operating. The company plans on extracting lithium from geothermal waters by DLE. The discoveries made at the test site will determine whether the company will start the construction of a larger pilot plant by March of 2022.

“As world leaders gather in Cornwall for the G7 summit to take collective action towards securing a green and global economic recovery, and with the news that Nissan is considering constructing a battery gigafactory in the North East, the timing could not be better for Cornish Lithium,”

Jeremy Wrathall, CEO and founder Cornish Lithium

Serbia May Call Referendum on Rio Tinto’s Jadar Lithium Project

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić recently announced that a local referendum will be held to decide the future of Rio Tinto’s Jadar mining project.

Jadarite test drill site in jadar, Serbia. Credit: Rio Tinto

Recently, the British mining company had announced recycling efforts which, together with the mine, are supposed to become part of the European value chain for batteries. Due to many protests and fears about the groundwater, the feasibility of the mine project has remained unclear. The referendum could now decide the fate of the project.

This is not a complete list of news from this week but the press releases and articles I found the most interesting. Let me know if I missed anything important.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@BatteryBayEU), where I post some of the news before they end up in my weekly roundup. I’m looking forward to learning about your involvement or interest in the industry and chatting about everything batteries.

Also, please feel free to use the comment section below to leave any feedback or suggestions!

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