The Chinese battery manufacturer CATL wants to ramp up cell production at its new plant in Thuringia in the second half of this year. Instead of the planned capacity of 14 gigawatt-hours, however, it will only produce 8 GWh in 2022.
“We are in the final spurt,” said CATL’s head of European operations Matthias Zentgraf in Arnstadt on Monday as he received an operating licence from the state of Thuringia for the first expansion stage of the plant. “The production machines are already on their way to Arnstadt,” Zentgraf added.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the plant took place in October 2019, and the completion of the first construction phase was announced at the time for the beginning of 2022. The cell production capacity was initially supposed to be 14 GWh for 2022. However, at 8 GWh, this is now significantly smaller. The reason for this could certainly be the delayed start, however, up to 24 GWh are planned in a later expansion stage.
The plant near Erfurt will be the first CATL production facility outside China. A total of 500 people from the region are on board so far, but by the end of the year, about 1,500 employees are to be hired. In addition, there will be several hundred specialists from China who will support the installation of the production facilities and the start-up phase of manufacturing, but who will not stay permanently.
The Chinese are investing about 1.8 billion euros in the site. Specifically, the second partial permit under the Federal Immission Control Act has now been granted. “That’s why you can now get started,” said Thuringia’s Environment Minister Anja Siegesmund. And: the large hall roofs would be used to generate solar power.
According to Economics Minister Wolfang Tiefensee, CATL’s investment decision is said to have had a “signal effect” for eastern Germany as an industrial location. Intel, for example, had also referred to CATL when deciding on Magdeburg. In addition to Intel, the Fraunhofer IKTS had already opened a branch called the Battery Innovation and Technology Centre (BITC) at Erfurter Kreuz in 2020. Among other things, the establishment of the research centre should enable an intensification of the already existing cooperation with CATL. Last year, BASF and CATL also announced a strategic partnership in the field of solutions for battery materials.
zeit.de (in German)
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