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German aims for lithium-in battery independence with opening of European gigafactory

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 11:11 -- Paul Crompton
German aims for lithium-in battery independence with opening of European gigafactory

German lithium-ion battery developer and producer BMZ GmbH has opened production facilities for Europe’s first gigafactory.

The two 4,800 m2 manufacturing units will enable 15 GWh, around 200million lithium-ion batteries of different kinds and sizes, to be developed, produced and tested every year.

The additional facilities, which include logistics and office buildings, are in Karlstein- Großwelzheim where BMZ already has existing production areas of 7,000 m2.

Four further production, laboratory and office buildings covering a combined 15,000 m2 are planned to be built before 2020.

Once completed BMZ aims to produce 30 GWh, around 800 million lithium-ion batteries, annually at the industrial site in Karlstein-Großwelzheim alone.

Company founder and owner Sven Bauer said: “The current discussions on subsidies for electric cars often forget that lithium-ion batteries are also used in e-bikes, electrical appliances, gardening tools, energy storage systems, transport vehicles, excavators and so on.

“Unlike electric cars we are presently undergoing a real demand boom in many of these sectors, and we assume that the demand in these segments will further increase by 15 to 30% annually in the coming years depending on application range.

“The modular concept of our new ultra-modern factory units enables BMZ to respond even faster and more flexible to this growth scenario as well as specified customer requests in the future.”

As first intermediate step BMZ intends to launch their own cell at the end of this year as a prototype

Bauer said: “From our point of view it is most important to commonly build up our own production of lithium-ion cells in Germany, too. That is the only way to reduce the dependency risks on the few, mainly Asiatic cell producers in the long run.”

Picture: Officially opened up the first section of Europe’s biggest battery factory in a ceremony (from left): Marco Schütz (CEO LIST AG), Dr. Ulrich Reuter (District Administrator, district of Aschaffenburg), Sven Bauer (CEO BMZ GmbH), Daniel Fabbiano (Plant Manager BMZ GmbH), Winfried Bruder (Mayor Municipality of Karlstein) 

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