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Renault at centre of plans to build 74GWh of lithium-ion manufacturing capacity in France

Thu, 07/01/2021 - 11:34 -- Paul Crompton
verger innovation centre

Two major deals could see France build 74GWH of lithium-ion battery manufacturing capacity by 2030.

Vehicle OEM Renault is at the heart of the deals that could see it secure battery supplies from plants being built by Chinese firm Envision and French firm Verkor.

Renault Group is partnering with Envision AESC— the battery arm of Envision Group— to develop a 9GWh gigafactory in Douai by 2024, with the aim of reaching 24GWh six-years later. 

Envision will invest up to €2 billion ($2.3 billion) to produce batteries for electric models, including the future Renault R5, at the plant in Douai situated near to Renault ElectriCity production sites at Douai, Maubeuge and Ruitz.

Lei Zhang, founder and chief executive officer of Envision Group, said: “This first phase development will unlock future large-scale investment to grow the local supply chain and develop the whole life cycle opportunities of batteries, including energy storage, battery reuse, smart charging and closed loop recycling.”

Verkor gigafactory

Renault Group has signed a memorandum of understanding to become a “more than” 20% shareholder of Verkor, and plans to join the consortium that was created around the French start-up in 2020. 

The initial phases of the partnership will involve the financing of an R&D centre (Verkor Innovation Centre) in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France, and a pilot line for battery cell and module prototyping and production as early as next year. 

The second phase will see Verkor move to create a 16GWh gigafactory— for which 10GWh is earmarked for Renault— for high performance batteries in France, with potential to rise to 20GWh by 2030.

Verkor aims to reach a total annual capacity target of 50GWh by 2030, of which 20GWh will go to Renault Group.

A Verkor spokesman told BEST construction of the plant will start in 2023 and the ramp up will start throughout 2025. Full capacity will be reached in 2026.

The 16GWh plant will cost around €1 billion ($1.1 billion).

The spokesman said: “We will sell in Europe to the mobility and stationary storage segments, with the OEM taking the volume lion’s share.”

Verkor has formed “numerous” partnerships, to develop a competitive and transparent value chain, which will be announced over the next few weeks.

Renault Group will join existing shareholders EIT InnoEnergy, Groupe IDEC, Schneider Electric and Capgemini

Benoit Lemaignan CEO and co-founder of Verkor said: “This is a first step in a series of major announcements to come over the following weeks which will demonstrate our progress in our plan to generate up to 50GWh of battery cell production capacity by 2030 – a cornerstone in developing a competitive, sovereign and sustainable battery supply chain in Europe.”

Through the partnership, Renault Group will build on its knowledge of battery cell manufacturing while leveraging Verkor’s excellence in manufacturing low-carbon batteries through digital innovation. 

Race to build UK’s first gigafactory

Envision Group has joined the race to build the UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory that will form part of a £1 billion ($1.3 billion) electric vehicle hub.

The company will invest £450 million ($622 million) to build the gigafactory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) in Sunderland, UK.

Formal planning for an initial 9GWh plant is about to begin, with Envision potentially investing up to £1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) to reach to 25GWh capacity by 2030 with potential on site for up to 35GWh. 

 
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Saft replaces icebreaker batteries after 30 years of service

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 13:41 -- John Shepherd
Saft replaces icebreaker batteries after 30 years of service

French battery maker Saft has installed replacement nickel technology batteries on board eight Russian icebreakers— 30 years after the company supplied the vessels’ original nickel iron (NiFE) batteries.

The batteries provide engine starting and backup power for the vessels operating around Russia’s ports in the southern Azov Sea. 

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Saft to ‘expand lithium’ with Chinese lead group Tianneng

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 09:51 -- Hugh Finzel
Patrick Pouyanné

France’s Saft and Chinese lead-acid battery group Tianneng Energy Technology have formed a joint venture (JV) to expand lithium-ion manufacturing and “scale up its e-mobility and energy storage businesses”.

The JV will “primarily focus on the development, manufacturing and sales of advanced lithium-ion cells, modules and packs”. Production will be based at Tianneng’s Changxing factory, with a potential annual manufacturing capacity of 5.5GWh.

“This is a first strategic move driven by Total, following its acquisition of Saft in 2016,” said Patrick Poyanné, CEO of Total, the French battery manufacturer’s parent company. “The JV will allow Saft to join forces with a Chinese partner, a world leading lead-acid battery manufacturer, willing to develop its lithium-ion activities.

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Bullish Aqua Metals set for lead production boost

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 14:56 -- John Shepherd

US lead-acid battery recycler Aqua Metals has told shareholders the company is on course for an estimated 25% increase in lead metal production after completing the first phase of a capital programme.

The company said the production increase would come from its first full production run of lead bullion from a newly commissioned third kettle— used to process the hard lead from the batteries it breaks.

A new filter press has also been installed and started up and a new centrifuge has been installed, Aqua Metals confirmed on 28 March.

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Macron raises alarm on European battery dependence

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

France will invest €700 million (US$788.8 million) over the next five years to boost the European battery industry and reduce reliance on Asian battery makers, President Emmanuel Macron has said.

Speaking to the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers in Paris, Macron said that Europe needs a “wake-up call” on batteries, referencing the threat of external dependence for an increasingly vital resource in an era of international trade wars.

“In terms of sovereignty and independence, I think it’s not good in the long run for our industry to be 100 per cent reliant on non-Europeans,” Macron was quoted by Reuters as saying.

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Renault to use EV batteries for ‘biggest stationary BESS’

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Renault BESS

The Renault car group has unveiled plans to build “the biggest stationary energy storage system using electric vehicle batteries ever designed in Europe” by 2020.

Renault said the 70-megawatt/60 megawatt-hour system will be installed across three sites in France and Germany— at Renault plants in Douai and Cleon, and at a former coal-fired plant in North Rhine-Westphalia. 

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Daramic chief reveals French facility expansion

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 13:50 -- John Shepherd
Bryan Moorehead

US-based lead-acid separator company Daramic is expanding its facility in France, president Bryan Moorehead has revealed.

The move will “add at least 15% to our capabilities” in the country, Moorehead told BEST Battery Briefing on the sidelines of the 16th European Lead Battery Conference (ELBC) in Vienna.

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France backs Saft in advanced battery R&D

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 02:58 -- Xuan Zhong
France backs Saft in advanced battery R&D

France’s government is throwing its weight behind a French-led consortium spearheading development of “third and fourth generation” lithium-ion battery technology.

The country’s powerful National Industrial Council (CNI)— headed by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe— said it is backing batteries research by Saft and others to the tune of “at least” EUR10 million ($11.5m).

 

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Battery firm foresees “tenfold” capacity increase at new French facility

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 11:31 -- John Shepherd
Battery firm foresees “tenfold” capacity increase at new French facility

French lithium-ion battery systems firm Forsee Power is preparing for a “tenfold” increase in production with plans for a new manufacturing facility in the country.

Foresee said the 15,000m² “mass manufacturing” facility to be built in Grand Poitier, western France, will initially run three automated production lines.

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Imerys strengthens grip on lithium-ion materials market

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 09:46 -- Xuan Zhong
Imerys strengthens grip on lithium-ion materials market

French minerals company Imerys Graphite & Carbon has strengthened its international grip on the lithium-ion materials market with a buy-out of a Japanese company.

The firm has obtained graphite surface treatment technology after buying Japanese company Nippon Power Graphite (NPG), which held a patented Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) coating technology.

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