Japan’s Marubeni and Northvolt have signed a MOU. Marubeni will supply the company led by former Tesla Manager Peter Carlsson with battery materials as well as with manufacturing equipment for Northvolt’s planned Gigafactory in Europe. The cooperation could also expand.
Northvolt has found a potent partner in Marubeni as they are eyeing the option to not only work as supplier for the Swedish startup but to enter into a wide reaching business cooperation.
For now though, they signed a memorandum of understanding for said supply with euipment and material needed to built batteries including cells. However, Marubeni said they also consider the startup in sales and the entire value chain including collection and reuse. So they are thinking to establish a joint battery recycling facility in Europe.
Northvolt is backed by the likes of Scania or ABB and recently broke ground for its R&D centre in Swedish Västerås. Here Scania hopes to develop batteries for commercial vehicles together with Northvolt. The facility is to start developing, testing and industrialising lithium ion batteries as of 2019. Further founding comes from the Swedish energy company Energimyndigheten as well as the European Investment Bank (we reported).
The cooperation with Marubeni follows another agreement that Northvolt had forged with Canadian Nemaska. The Swedes signed a declaration of principle for the delivery of lithium hydroxide beginning with the kick-off of commercial production at their battery lab.
It is to serve as a pilot production for the planned lithium-ion battery factory in Skellefteå, the so-called Gigafactory. Construction is said to start by the second half of 2018 and two years the plant shall open with an initial production volume of 8 GWh per year that is to climb up to 32 GWh by 2023.
By then, Northvolt might face a rather competitive market for battery cells in Europe. China’s CATL announced today that a decision on whether battery production on the continent is feasible could be taken within a few weeks time. LG Chem and Samsung SDI are making batteries in Europe already.