Volkswagen, Northvolt to set up battery research consortium


The group plans to help provide funding for battery R&D, while promoting the industrial implementation of such technologies. Their joint research activities are scheduled to begin early next year.

“The joint research activities of the European Battery Union will cover the entire battery value stream – from raw materials through cell technology to recycling,” the companies said in an online statement. “The prime objective is to accumulate much broader know-how on battery cell production.”

Undisclosed industrial and academic stakeholders across seven EU member states plan to participate in the EBU. Their research will focus on the production of raw materials, cell technology, production processes and recycling. They will also look at ways to develop competitive but environmentally sustainable plant technologies within the EU. Their efforts may be eligible for funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

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The announcement follows plans that were revealed by European economic officials in December to turn the continent into an industrial hub for large-scale battery cell production. It also follows plans by a number of foreign companies to establish production facilities in Europe. Last July, for example, Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) signalled plans to invest €240 million in a new battery cell fab in Thüringen, Germany, by 2022. CATL aims to use the facility to supply electric-vehicle batteries to BMW, as part of a €4 billion, long-term partnership.

Last May, Germany’s Siemens said it would invest €10 million in a 32 GWh lithium-ion battery cell production factory that Northvolt plans to build in the Swedish municipality of Skelleftea. They two companies aim to launch production next year. Separately, Northvolt announced plans in October to open a battery factory in Gdansk, Poland, at some point this year.

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