In Harjavalta, Finland, German chemical producer BASF will build its first manufacturing facility for the production of battery materials for the European automotive market.
BASF announces that the start of production is planned for the end of 2020. The factory is being planned to allow the production of battery materials for about 300,000 electric vehicles per year. The production site itself will use local, renewable energy sources including water, wind and biomass.
The company also states that the factory will be located next to a Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) refinery for nickel and cobalt. BASF has entered into a long-term supply agreement with Nornickel for the raw materials nickel and cobalt from their refinery. This agreement will provide a reliable supply of locally sourced raw materials for battery production in Europe.
“The investment, along with the strategic collaboration with Nornickel, will create a strong platform that combines the commitment of the two leading companies in the supply of raw materials and battery materials research and manufacturing,” said Kenneth Lane, head of BASF’s Catalysts division. According to BASF, high nickel content cathode materials are essential to develop vehicles with higher energy density and longer range.
With this investment, BASF wants to support the European Commission’s goal of building a European battery production value chain. The company is currently testing additional sites in Europe to build new battery material manufacturing facilities.
In May, the EU Commission presented an action plan for building a competitive and sustainable battery industry in Europe, as the development and production of batteries is considered a strategic necessity for Europe. According to forecasts, the battery market in Europe from 2025 could be up to €250 billion.