Umicore opens cathode material plant in Poland

The materials technology and recycling group Umicore has opened its first European plant for the production of cathode materials for electric car batteries in Nysa, Poland. In the following years, the plant is to be expanded to up to 200 GWh.

The factory, which was announced in 2018, is expected to reach an annual production capacity of 20 GWh by the end of 2023 and 40 GWh in 2024, according to Umicore. The plant is designed to increase production to over 200 GWh in the second half of the decade. The plant is expected to be able to produce battery cells for an estimated three million electric cars.

Production has been running since July, but the factory in Nysa has only just been officially opened. The plant currently employs around 240 people; by the end of 2023, with the expanded capacity, it is expected to employ over 400 people. Umicore does not specify which material combinations can be produced there for the cathode.

With its own production facility for CAM (Cathode Active Material), Umicore claims to be the first company in Europe with a fully circular and sustainable value chain for battery materials. Umicore recycles spent batteries, reprocesses the black mass thus obtained into the individual battery raw materials and can now process these into new cathodes itself – the cycle is closed.

“We are very proud to open Europe’s very first Gigafactory for cathode materials. Umicore’s carbon neutral plant here in Nysa is a real enabler and accelerator of the shift towards electromobility in the European Union,” says Umicore CEO Mathias Miedreich.

In the long term, at least one more plant is likely to follow, because the Belgian group wants to achieve a global capacity of more than 400 GWh by 2030. Specifically, the announcement mentions the construction of a plant for primary materials and cathode materials in Canada and the expansion of existing capacities in Asia.

Umicore’s customers include the Automotive Cells Company (ACC) battery cell joint venture between Stellantis, Total and Mercedes-Benz. Umicore is also to supply Volkswagen’s future European cell factories with cathode material.


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