Freyr Board approves first battery cell factory
The Freyr Board has approved the Norwegian company to build the first battery cell factory in Rana, Norway, for production to start in the first half of 2024. Called Giga Arctic, the plant has been designed for an annual capacity of 29 GWh, according to the plan now approved.
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At Mo i Rana, Freyr is already building the so-called CQP (Customer Qualification Plant) production line, which is scheduled to come on stream in the second half of 2022. Freyr intends to use this production to manufacture sample cells for potential customers – to the tune of 2-gigawatt hours.
With the decision now announced by the Board of Management, it is clear that the company’s first large-scale production plant will also be built there – this was final confirmation. The plans have also been adjusted several times. Initially, Freyr wanted to create two smaller factories in Rana, which would have produced NCM battery cells. In the meantime, only one plant is planned (with 150 per cent higher capacity than one of the smaller factories), and Freyr is also reportedly planning a joint venture with Aleees to produce LFP cathode materials.
Freyr says it intends to allocate about half of Giga Arctic’s production capacity to “long-term offtake partners.” The remaining volume will be reserved “to address exponentially growing market demand” – sold to customers without long-term commitments at the best possible price. The Freyr board credits this plan with the potential of $2 billion in sales per year.
For the project, Freyr says it has received funding commitments totalling $1.6 billion, exceeding management’s leverage target. This includes 400 million euros from Eksfin, Norway’s export credit agency (ECA). The Norwegian government’s national battery strategy was also presented at the Freyr event in Mo i Rana.
The Giga Arctic is said to come at around 50 per cent lower investment costs per GWh of nominal capacity. Thanks to the high level of automation – as reported with equipment from British automation specialist Mpac Lambert – production per employee is expected to be 200 per cent higher than in current battery factories.
“With our expanded plant capacity, accelerated commercial momentum and strong support from Eksfin, other ECAs and financial institutions, Giga Arctic represents one of Norway’s largest onshore industrial investments in recent decades,” says Torstein Dale Sjøtveit, founder and executive chairman of Freyr.
By 2030, Freyr aims to have built a total production capacity of 200 GWh. Giga Arctic in Mo i Rana could be expanded in the future: The company is evaluating adding a module and pack assembly and recycling and other applications at the site.
Update 26 August 2022
Freyr has now entered into an important partnership for the equipment of the battery factories planned or under construction. Hana Technology, a South Korean provider of automation solutions for battery plants, among others, is to develop the equipment and automation solutions for the so-called CQP production line (Customer Qualification Plant) in Rana, Norway, as well as for Freyr’s planned gigafactories.
“We selected Hana Technology due to their proven track record with major Korean battery manufacturers. We also experienced, as part of our tender process, that they have the best technical solution to meet our needs for clean battery cell production,” says Freyr CEO, Tom Einar Jensen. “We aim to collaborate and co-create with them, ensuring that we move with speed and scale quickly and make strides towards our goal to become one of the most sustainable battery producers in the world,” he explained.
The two companies have in common that Hana Technology is a pre-qualified supplier of 24M Technologies, and Freyr has also licensed the technology from 24M. The agreement specifies that Hana Technology will support areas that include pouch assembly, formation and ageing, inspection, grading, packaging, as well as scrap-discharge equipment for Freyr’s Gigafactories. Hana Technology will also collaborate with Freyr to review, develop, and improve its technical documentation.
Update 04 October August
Freyr Battery has taken another important step towards building the Giga Arctic battery cell factory in Mo i Rana, Norway: The company has contracted Hent, one of Norway’s largest general contractors and project developers. Hent will be responsible for the design, project management and construction of the 120,000-square-meter battery factory building. Freyr says the contract also includes facilities and infrastructure.
This is not the first collaboration between the two companies: In December 2021, Hent was appointed as general contractor for the first phase in Mo i Rana, the construction of the so-called Customer Qualification Plant