Vianode , the company owned by Elkem, Hydro and Altor, has decided to invest in its first industrial scale plant for sustainable battery materials at Heroya in Norway.
The investment of around NOK2bn will create new jobs and provide critical battery materials.
“The decision is an important step towards establishing a complete battery value chain in Norway for the European market,” Vianode said in a statement.
The plant will produce anode graphite for about 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) per year by 2024.
This investment is the first phase in a larger investment plan. Plant construction will be carried out in parallel with preparations for a second phase plant scaled to provide battery materials to 2m EVs per year by 2030, covering a significant share of the global EV market.
“Based on strong support from owners Elkem, Hydro and Altor, Vianode now has a solid foundation to succeed with building industrial leadership in advanced battery materials with a green footprint,” said Asbjorn Sovik, interim CEO.
The graphite materials are produced with up to 90% lower CO2 emissions than today’s materials. They have claimed unique performance characteristics and improve the properties in batteries, including faster charging, increased range and longer service life, as well as increased safety and recyclability.
“The global demand for batteries is growing rapidly, driven by the green transition, but there is not sufficient ramp up of battery materials production. Europe is facing a significant shortfall of graphite materials towards 2030, which [we aim] to address with our high-performance offerings. Automakers and authorities are also increasingly focused on a sustainable value chain, where [we have] a unique offering with our low CO2 footprint,” said Stian Madshus, general manager for Vianode .
Today, an EV contains on average up to 70kg of graphite materials, representing a vital component of the battery.
Vianode said its products are developed based on specialised expertise in high temperature processes, closed production systems, lower energy consumption and access to renewable energy.
Vianode has operated an industrial pilot in Kristiansand, Norway since April 2021 and has ambitions to establish industrial leadership in advanced battery materials in Europe and for the global market.
Founded in 2021, it has 60 employees.
Today’s investment decision means that the company will be recruiting approximately 100 new hires by the end of 2023. With a potential investment decision for a second phase plant, this could double to 300 employees by the end of 2026. Including ripple effects, this means around 1,000 jobs in total.