Freyr has made the final investment decision to construct the first production line for battery cells in Rana, Norway. The so-called Customer Qualification Plant is scheduled to go into operation in the second half of 2022 to produce sample cells for potential customers.
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The FID comes after completing the tender processes and allows Freyr to award contracts to supply key production equipment. The company from Norway says preparatory work on the facility was already ongoing, with initial operations targeted in the second half of 2022.
Freyr relies on the semi-solid technology of cell specialist 24M Technologies. The license agreement grants Freyr rights to unlimited production of battery cells based on 24M’s current and all future technologies. The US company that emerged from A123 in 2010 is working on cells with a simple structure and a semi-solid electrolyte.
Once operational, the new CQP line will allow Freyr to implement and test 24M’s technology and supply samples to potential customers. The company says it was targeting all market segments and that the line would further support product optimisation and meeting specific customer requirements. The plant is “thus strategically important in securing final offtake agreements” for Freyr’s planned cell production in Rana.
Here, Freyr now also mentions a higher capacity for its first battery factory announced in 2019. Instead of the originally planned 32 GWh, Freyr wants the plant in Rana to have capacities for 35 GWh by 2025. The facility will source energy from a 600 MW wind farm and local hydropower in Norway. If everything goes according to plan, large scale production could start in 2023.
What’s more, the cell factory in Rana is only the beginning as Freyr wants to create a “Nordic Battery Belt” with at least ten factories. The recent announcement also mentions building another 8 GWh through joint ventures in Norway and/or the Nordic region.
In addition, as reported, Freyr is also considering building production capacity in North America via a joint venture with an unnamed “large multinational industrial group”. The news was part of stock exchange documents filed by Freyr and its SPAC partner Alussa Energy Acquisition Corp. Both companies are reportedly merging for the purpose of going public in the US. This could see Freyr then build-up at least 50 GWh annual battery cell production capacity on the continent by 2030. However, Freyr notes that the use of 24M’s process technology in the potential North American joint venture would require an amendment to the existing licensing agreement.
Update 27 July 2021: UK automation specialist Mpac Lambert has been awarded a contract by Freyr to supply the battery cell assembly equipment package for its CQP production line in Rana, Norway. The preparatory work is already underway, according to Freyr.
Mpac Lambert had a big advantage in the award: the British company has already been working with 24M for three years on the industrialisation and scaling of semi-solid-state batteries. 24M, in turn, as mentioned, is Freyr’s cell technology partner. According to Freyr, the core of the production process is an innovative battery casting technology – but Freyr does not go into detail.
The contract between Freyr and Mpac Lambert also includes options to supply Freyr’s planned gigafactories with foundry and cell assembly equipment. Freyr does not specify the exact scope in the announcement.