Europe's first large-scale battery factory hopes to emulate Tesla's Gigafactory

Former Tesla executives have unveiled plans to build the largest European battery factory in Sweden, with an ultimate aim to rival the expected output of Tesla's US-based Gigafactory by 2024.

The Nordic location was insisted on due to the easy access to necessary materials and metals and the availability and affordability of a renewable power supply

The Nordic location was insisted on due to the easy access to necessary materials and metals and the availability and affordability of a renewable power supply

Peter Carlsson worked as Tesla’s head of supply chain up to 2015 and has since co-founded Nordic energy firm Northvolt AB. The firm has today (7 March) received a €3.5m investment from InnoEnergy - the innovation hub for the European energy market - to support the development of Europe's first large-scale battery factory. 

Carlsson has teamed with Northvolt’s chief operating officer and former Tesla executive Paolo Cerruti to develop blueprints for a $4bn factory to be built in the Nordic region. The factory will produce lithium-ion battery cells and has an anticipated final production capacity of 32GWh.

In comparison, Tesla’s Gigafactory is expected to have a 35GWh capacity by the end of 2018, although the company is hoping to roll-out at least three more factories in the future.

“InnoEnergy is the gateway to the largest and most valuable innovation ecosystem in Europe,” Carlsson said. “The investment will support us in realising our vision of creating Europe’s largest scale battery cell production facility. But – more than that – InnoEnergy’s vast network has the power to support us for years to come.”

The batteries produced in the factory will be used to create battery cells for electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage systems. The Nordic location was insisted on due to the easy access to necessary materials and metals and the availability and affordability of a renewable power supply – Sweden, for example, has slashed emissions by 54.5% since 1990.

‘Revolutionary’ benefits

InnoEnergy’s involvement will support Northvolt in enhancing supply chains, processing designs and implementing environmental and recycling plans on mooted sites. Specifically, the group will provide access to a pan-European network of support systems and companies, in order to attract further development to the project.

“The development of a European large scale battery factory will be revolutionary, especially in terms of electrification of transport – which in itself could drastically reduce Europe’s carbon footprint,” InnoEnergy’s chief executive Diego Pavia said.

“The benefits can also go beyond supporting the transition to electrification. By considering the deployment of battery-based energy storage at all levels of the electricity network, we can also see that this battery factory will add value to the grid while maximising the integration of renewable energy. This fits perfectly with InnoEnergy’s goal to achieve a sustainable energy future in Europe.” 

InnoEnergy has worked to facilitate the growth of innovative and low-carbon energy markets across Europe. Since its inception, InnoEnergy has reached out to more than 250 associates and project partners in an attempt to match hungry innovators with businesses large and small.

So far, InnoEnergy has received 11,200 applicants to its Masters School, with 93% of the 500 graduates finding a job within six months of graduating. It has supported 140 PhD students, helped 162 early-stage start-ups reach markets and created 80 new companies. From these companies, three manufacturing facilities have been constructed, 77 patents have been filed and 24 solutions to energy market issues have been used by industries.

The organisation’s innovation director Elena Bou recently told edie that bringing start-ups together with businesses is a sure-fire way to bring needed disruption to a market that must integrate new business models in order to deliver a low-carbon energy transition.

Matt Mace


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energy storage | low carbon | manufacturing | technology

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