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Northvolt breaks ground on Swedish battery R&D centre

Northvolt AB, a Swedish battery technology developer has held a ground-breaking ceremony in Västerås, Sweden marking the construction start of Northvolt Labs, a "cutting edge" scale-up and research facility that will be used to develop, test and industrialize lithium-ion battery cells before large-scale production.

Attending the battery-powered ground-breaking ceremony for Northvolt’s lithium-ion battery R&D centre in Västerås, Sweden on April 27 were the Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation, Mikael Damberg (left), Peter Carlsson, Co-Founder and CEO of Northvolt, Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič and Andrew McDowell, Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) (photo courtesy Northvolt).

When old technology is phased out and overtaken by electrification in the coming years, batteries are going to become the differentiating factor. With increasing technology differentiation and substantial growth of R&D efforts from sophisticated customers, especially in the transportation industry, our strategy with Northvolt Labs is to provide a facility for them to develop their own design, then test, industrialize and qualify it, before taking it to large-scale production, said Peter Carlsson, Co-Founder and CEO, Northvolt.

Held in the presence of Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič of the European Commission, the initiator of the industry-led EU Battery Alliance, Vice President Andrew McDowell of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation, Mikael Damberg the facility is expected to be completed in 2019.

Batteries are at the heart of the industrial revolution. The Northvolt project shows that Europe has what it takes to become the world’s leader in innovation, decarbonisation, and digitisation. I am proud to open this cutting-edge facility in Västerås together with our strategic partners: Northvolt and its EU consortium, Sweden and the EIB. We will continue to work together under the European Battery Alliance to make sure we establish competitive value chains in sustainable batteries production in Europe, said Maroš Šefčovič Vice-President of the European Commission.

With support from the EIB and InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators Energy Demonstration Projects facility, the Swedish Energy Agency, and industrial partners, the establishment of Northvolt Labs is a key step towards the launch of Northvolt’s large-scale battery cell factory. It also marks the first step towards the creation of a European value chain for large-scale battery cell manufacturing.

The European Investment Bank is very pleased to finance Northvolt’s battery research, development and innovative manufacturing techniques, which will support the creation – in Europe – of highly specialized jobs and knowledge essential to Europe’s clean energy transition. I hope that today’s event and the signing of our EUR 52.5 million loan contract with Northvolt will also help catalyse a number of similar investments across other EU Member States, said Andrew McDowell Vice-President of the EIB.

The R&D facility is being built in Västerås, a city that is home to several multinational companies with world-class engineering and R&D competence in electrification and process optimization.

It is not a coincidence that this ground-breaking investment takes place in Sweden. We have excellent conditions to host the battery factories of tomorrow. We have the potential for mining of key minerals, green electricity and automation and power competence needed to make it happen. Sustainability and green technology is not just about doing good. It is about doing good business. And staying competitive in the long run, said Mikael Damberg, Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation.

With the mission to enable the transition to renewable energy and electrification, Northvolt announced in March 2017 plans to build Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery cell factory. During the past 12 months, significant progress has been made towards achieving the goal.

Northvolt is now entering the next phase, going from a planning to a physical phase. With a number of key partners and customers onboard, and with major progress made within the cell, product and process development, we are now ready to take the next step, said Peter Carlsson.

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