Vianode, a company owned by Elkem, Hydro and Altor, has decided to invest in its first industrial-scale plant for sustainable battery materials at Herøya in Norway. Accordingly, the investment of around 2 billion Norwegian krone (US$193.2 million) will create new industrial jobs and provide critical battery materials.
Hence, the company considers the new investment as an important step towards establishing a complete battery value chain in Norway for the European market.
The industrial plant at Herøya, Norway, will produce anode graphite for about 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) per year by 2024. Therefore, the investment is the first phase in a larger investment plan. The plant construction will happen in parallel with preparations for a second phase plant. Particularly, the company sees the second phase plant to provide battery materials to 2 million EVs per year by 2030. This covers a significant share of the global EV market.
“The investment decision marks a historic step for Vianode and its owners and is a recognition of the work put in by both our employees and partners. Based on strong support from owners Elkem, Hydro and Altor, Vianode now has a solid foundation to succeed with building industrial leadership in advanced battery materials with a green footprint,” says Asbjørn Søvik, Vianode’s interim CEO and executive chair of the board.
The production of graphite materials from Vianode come with up to 90 percent lower CO2 emissions than today’s standard materials. Nonetheless, the materials have unique performance characteristics and improve the properties in batteries. These include faster charging, increased range, and longer service life. In addition, they come with increased safety and recyclability.
Stian Madshus, general manager for Vianode, said, “The global demand for batteries is growing rapidly, driven by the green transition. However, there is not sufficient ramp-up of battery materials production. Europe is facing a significant shortfall of graphite materials towards 2030, which Vianode aims to address with our high-performance offerings.”
In addition, Madshus said, “Automakers and authorities are also increasingly focused on a sustainable value chain, where Vianode has a unique offering with our low CO2 footprint.”
Currently, an EV contains on average up to 70kg of graphite materials, representing a vital component of the battery. Vianode develops its products based on specialized know how in high-temperature processes, closed production systems, lower energy consumption, and access to renewable energy. This makes Vianode an important contributor to the European supply of critical materials needed for the energy transition.
Vianode has operated an industrial pilot in Kristiansand, Norway since April 2021 and has ambitions to establish industrial leadership in advanced battery materials in Europe and for the global market.
Founded in 2021, Vianode has around 60 employees. Today’s investment decision means that the company will be recruiting approximately 100 new hires, bringing the total to around 160 by the end of 2023. Furthermore, with a potential investment decision for a second phase plant, this can double to 300 employees by the end of 2026. Including ripple effects, this means around 1,000 jobs in total.