Industry giants agree to increase pace of battery production in Norway

Electric car chargerPhoto: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB

Elkem, Hydro, and Altor have announced increased investment in battery production. The investment will initially produce graphite for more than 20,000 electric cars per year.

The three companies stated in a press release that through a partnership, they intend to accelerate the growth of Vianode, a manufacturer of sustainable battery materials.

The partners plan to make an investment decision for a potential first-phase facility at Herøya in Porsgrunn during the first half of 2022. This plant is expected to have about 100 employees and produce graphite for more than 20,000 electric cars per year.

1 million electric cars

If the plan for a full-scale plant sees the light of day, this could produce graphite for more than 1 million electric cars per year. According to the companies, the number of employees in Vianode is expected to increase to around 300, which enables over 1,000 green jobs, including external ripple effects.

“I would like to congratulate the parties on a very exciting industrial collaboration! The government has big ambitions for a green industrial boost where batteries are one of six focus areas,” Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre (AP) said.

He emphasized the importance of creating new, green jobs, increasing mainland investment, increasing exports outside oil and gas, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“These are the kinds of projects and collaborations we want more of as we go through the biggest ever restructuring in the Norwegian economy,” he continued.

The green shift

The investments for the first-phase plant and the preparations for a possible full-scale plant are estimated at NOK 2 billion. However, much depends on clarifications about significant framework conditions such as public support schemes and long-term access to competitive renewable energy and grid infrastructure.

“The market for battery materials is growing at an exponential pace, and the development of sustainable value chains will be absolutely crucial for the green shift. Vianode aims to become a leading producer of sustainable battery materials,” Elkem’s CEO Helge Aasen said.

Hydro pointed out, among other things, that the company has several decades of experience as a supplier to the automotive industry.

“Vianode fits in well with our strategic direction of growth in renewable energy and new energy solutions,” Hydro’s CEO Hilde Merete Aasheim said.

Green electric car supply chain

“Vianode is perfectly positioned to shape the future automotive industry and become an important contributor to the green shift and a carbon-neutral future,” Altor CEO Tom Jovik said.

“We have experience from partnerships in other projects related to the green shift where entire industries are transformed. With Vianode, we believe it is possible to build a completely new green electric car supply chain in Europe,” Jovik added.

In order for the collaboration to become a reality, a green light is required from both the parties and the competition authorities.

After the transaction, Hydro and Altor will each have a 30% shareholding in Vianode, while Elkem will retain the remaining 40%.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayFinance

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