This Week in Batteries – Week 42

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

Stellantis Forms JVs With LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI

The automotive corporation Stellantis recently announced it would join forces with battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution to produce Li-ion batteries in North America. The exact location for the production site is currently being determined and construction of the factory is expected to begin as early as the second quarter of next year.

Starting in 2024, the companies plan to produce up to 40 GWh worth of batteries annually. This is part of Stellantis’ electrification strategy, which they presented at EV Day in June. Check out my article for more details on that strategy.

Stellantis’ battery supply strategy presented at EV Day. Credit: Stellantis

Stellantis also just announced another joint venture with Korean Samsung SDI. The companies will also build a plant at an undisclosed location in North America. The battery plant will have an initial annual production capacity of 23 GWh, with the ability to increase up to 40 GWh a year.

“With this, we have now determined the next ‘gigafactory’ coming to the Stellantis portfolio to help us achieve a total minimum of 260 gigawatt hours of capacity by 2030. I want to warmly thank each person involved in this strategic project. Together, we will lead the industry with benchmark efficiencies and deliver electrified vehicles that ignite passion.”

Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis

Lithium Refinery to Be Built in Brandenburg, Germany

The Canadian company Rock Tech Lithium wants to build Europe’s largest lithium processing plant in Brandenburg and produce enough battery-grade material for 500,000 cars annually. The German newspaper Handelsblatt recently reported that the company plans to process around 24,000 tonnes of battery material annually at the site, starting in 2024. This aims to further allocate more elements of the value chain for EV batteries in the state. However, the lithium itself comes from mines in Canada. It was not stated if, at any point, German lithium will be processed at the site. It is one of five factories that the company plans to build in Europe. The company, partly supported by Peter Thiel, is said to be currently preparing for its Nasdaq listing.

The site in Guben, Brandenburg is conveniently located, since Tesla is, as is well known, currently building a Gigafactory with a battery factory in Brandenburg. BASF is also building a factory for cathode materials with a recycling plant in the south of Brandenburg.

Vulcan Energy to Provide Lithium to Umicore

Belgian materials technology company Umicore recently announced that it had signed a long-term contract with the startup Vulcan Energy. Vulcan Energy, a German-Australian company, wants to extract lithium from geothermal brine in western Germany. I already presented this company some time ago. The extraction is supposedly carbon-neutral.

Vulcan Energy’s extraction process. Credit: Vulcan Energy

Umicore wants to purchase this environmentally friendly battery-grade lithium hydroxide, starting in 2025. During the term of the contract, 28,000 to 42,000 tonnes are to be delivered. Before 2025, Umicore will source its lithium from the Chinese company Ganfeng Lithium, a new agreement between the companies encompasses lithium supply from 2022 onwards.

Further Plans for UK Midlands Gigafactory Revealed

West Midlands Gigafactory, a public-private joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd, recently unveiled further plans for the production site. From 2025 onwards, up to 60 GWh worth of batteries is to be produced annually. By implementing this production site, the joint venture further establishes the battery value chain in the UK and provides enough batteries for 600,000 cars. A recycling plant will also be part of the production site.

“The West Midlands Gigafactory has a singular mission to create a state-of-the-art battery gigafactory in the heart of the UK automotive industry.  It will provide a huge cash investment in the area, leading to thousands of well-paid jobs and creating crucial new skills for this country.”

Mike Murray, West Midlands Gigafactory Project Director

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. I am working on another detailed article at the moment but I am always interested in ideas for further posts, so let me know what you want to read about. Also, I’m back to my weekly schedule for now.

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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