This Week in Batteries – Week 24

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

Tesla Building Application Including Battery Plant now Open for Public Participation

The new building application for the Tesla Gigafactory in Grünheide has been published. The application was recently amended to include the construction of a battery plant. Due to the extensive changes, the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Protection (MLUK) announced the need for renewed public participation. The open for objections until mid-August. The application describes the cell production process in detail, however, some key elements are censored in the published version to protect the company’s IP.

Site plan for Giga Berlin including the battery plant. Credit: UVP Verbund

Earlier in the week, various environmental associations filed lawsuits against the ancillary permits that had been issued. Whether and to what extent the renewed public participation will alter the time schedule of Giga 4 is unclear. The application specifies the end of the year as the start of production.

EU and Canada Join Forces in Raw Materials Business

In an effort to become more independent from China, the EU and Canada have signed an agreement to secure supply chains for critical minerals and metals. The parties see this pact as crucial for the digital and green transformation.

“We as Europeans want to diversify our imports away from producers like China because we want more sustainability, less environmental damage and we want transparency on raw materials.”

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Battery materials are not mentioned directly but are most likely implied. In an earlier announcement, that I mentioned in my article on European lithium, Ursula von der Leyen stressed the need to diversify the lithium supply chain.

UK Government in Talks About Six Possible Gigafactories

The British government and local authorities are in talks with six companies about the construction of battery plants in the UK. The Financial Times reported that the companies include Ford Motor, Nissan Motor, LG Corp, Samsung, and European start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto. The plans are at different stages of maturity. Most companies are only in early discussions, Nissan appears to be closest to realization with its Sunderland site. Britishvolt is already in the process of realizing one battery factory in the northeast of England.

Volkswagen Seeks Partners for Direct Access to Battery Materials

The VW Group’s plans for vertical diversification in its battery division, which I reported on some time ago, are becoming more concrete. The company is in talks with several suppliers to secure direct access to raw materials.

VW is looking into the battery materials value chain. Credit: VW Group

Whether these are European companies is unclear. I have looked at some possible local suppliers in my article on European lithium. The VW Group is coined on picking some few big partners for the six battery plants.

Details of the partnership for the first battery factory in Salzgitter will be announced in the coming months.

Solid Power to go Public through Merger

Solid-state battery producer Solid Power will go public through a business combination with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation III, a SPAC by investment firm Riverstone Holdings.

Following the announcement, Belgian Umicore publicized its equity in Solid Power. The company has invested in Solid Power’s series A and B rounds. BMW and Ford also have both invested in the Louisville-based startup.

“Today marks an important milestone of commercializing Solid Power’s next generation of all-solid-state batteries that can alleviate the two largest passenger EV pain points: range anxiety and cost. In addition to our existing partners, Ford and BMW, we are now excited to partner with the DCRC team that shares our vision of powering a cleaner, safer and cost-effective electric future.”

Doug Campbell, CEO, Solid Power

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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