Northvolt forges partnership for battery modules
Northvolt of Sweden has agreed with Tesla supplier South Bay Solutions to set up a plant in Poland together. This time they aim to make complete energy storage solutions and want to produce up to 10,000 modules a year beginning in 2019.
Led by former Tesla executive Peter Carlsson, Northvolt is exploring new territory after having prepared their battery production for EVs in Sweden. The new partnership sees them construct a factory in the Polish city of Gdansk (Danzig) and they plan to eventually use cells made in Sweden for modules developed in Poland.
Northvolt gained an experienced partner in South Bay Solutions that specialises in battery modules including electronic control and thermal management. Moreover, the Gdansk facility will include a research and development lab. They want to kick-off production in 2019 and aim for an annual capacity of 10,000 modules to start with. Once cell production at Northvolt’s “Gigafactory” in Sweden is up to speed, expectedly by 2020, production in Poland will be scaled up as well.
The new solutions may be used by utilities and mining companies or any firms having an interest in complete solutions. Says Peter Carlsson, CEO of Northvolt: “We have seen a rapid increase in interest for complete battery solutions from several of our key customer segments during the past year. With this facility we will be able to meet that demand.”
Northvolt is currently constructing what will become Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery cell factory set in Swedish Skellefteå (we reported). Once completed by 2023, the factory will produce at least 32 GWh a year. Also works on the Northvolt.Lab in Västerås outside Stockholm are well underway. Here Northvolt is working with BMW and Umicore to develop a “green” battery reportedly. This requires a closed life cycle loop, starting with a cell design that enables recycling and using energy from renewables for production. Manufacturing is followed by the primary use of the batteries as power packs in electric vehicles. These can then move on to become energy storage in second life applications before finally, the cell is recycled and the raw materials reused, thereby completing the loop of battery making.