The European Investment Bank (EIB) is set to approve a €400 million (US$450m) loan to help start-up Northvolt build a 16GWh capacity lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing plant in Sweden.
The loan to design, build and start operations at the gigafactory, which Northvolt estimates will cost a total of around €1.5 billion, is likely to get the green light when the EIB board meets on 15 May.
An EIB spokesperson told BEST Battery Briefing the board had yet to decide on the loan application. But European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic has indicated that he expects the loan to be approved. He told EU ministers recently the financing deal would take partnerships in support of the bloc’s Battery Alliance to “an unprecedented level”.
“It means moving from a pilot line to industrial deployment,” Sefcovic said. “This should serve as reference for other investors and future projects.”
If approved, the loan will be the second the EIB has made to Northvolt. The first— up to €52.5m announced in February 2018— was to build a demonstration plant as a future manufacturer supplying the Battery Alliance.
A Northvolt spokesperson told BBB the company did not want to “comment specifically on the vice-president’s remarks”.
Northvolt, founded by two former Tesla workers, first announced its gigafactory plans for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries in Europe in March 2017.
The race to build major battery production facilities in Europe to supply the booming electric vehicle and energy storage markets is hotting up. German lithium battery storage firm Tesvolt is among the latest to unveil its expansion plans, as BBB also reports this week.