The Norwegian company Morrow Batteries is going to establish a new gigafactory, which will be located in the strategic Agder county. Their aim is to “revolutionize battery production and establish a more sustainable supply to European car makers”.
Works will start next year.
With a total capacity of 32 gigawatt-hour, the factory will consist of four equal modules of 8 gigawatt-hour. The first section is planned to be ready in 2024 and will most likely use existing battery technology, while the others will be developing “the next generation battery cell technology”.
“We need to build up alternative industries to oil and gas, and be able to take a green shift,” says Terje Andersen, CEO of Morrow Batteries. “We would like to build up a sustainable industry that we can benefit from and we know that there is a big market for this."
The exact location is yet to be established, but discussions are ongoing for a site in the South of Norway with close proximity to the European market. Among the potential customers, car producers are expected to be the biggest single market segment (followed by all kinds of transport firms).
The county of Agder will also give Morrow access to renewable hydropower, while the projected factory is expected to need 2,500 highly skilled workers.
Morrow’s lithium sulfur batteries will use deposed materials from the Norwegian oil industry. The production will then differentiate from today’s usual chain, which requires rare minerals and 97% of which takes place on coal fueled plants in China, Japan and South Korea.
“I am convinced that if we are to stop the escalating climate crisis the world must as fast as possible secure a stable supply of energy from renewables like sun and wind,” said Frederic Hauge, leader of the Norwegian NGO Bellona, who developed the initial idea. “A critical factor for this stability is sustainable options for energy storage and that is why we initiated this project.”
Registrations of battery electric vehicles (BEV) in Europe doubled during the first months of 2020 and so the Norwegian electric sector is growing, too.
"We have spent two years building the ecosystem around Morrow," Andersen stated. "As we now enter the market phase, we do that with confidence.”
Norway has far more EVs on the roads as a proportion of total vehicles than anywhere else in the world. Now two Norwegian industrial heavyweights want to capitalize on the expected growth in the EV market globally. The market is expected to rise with 1450% over the next ten years and the European battery cell market is expected to be valued at 90 billion Euros.
“Battery production will in the next few years grow to become a major global industry,” commented investor and industrialist Bjørn Rune Gjelsten. “Norway has massive benefits with extensive experience from the process industry and clean renewable energy.”
The EU Horizon 2020 contributed to Morrow Batteries’ plan to support the first technology development stage, as part of a larger commitment to the electric sector.
Indeed, Europe secured a record €60 billion in investments to produce electric vehicles and batteries last year - 19 times more than in 2018 - according to a Transport & Environment’s recent report.
“A few years ago Europe was nowhere in the race for EV supremacy,” said Saul Lopez, e-mobility manager at Transport & Environment. “Success in this market is now Europe’s industrial policy, and lawmakers should double-down with stimulus measures that will also drive a green recovery.”