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Freyer signs MoUs as it ramps up plans for 83GWh lithium-ion battery production in Norway

Wed, 09/01/2021 - 14:58 -- Paul Crompton
freer factory image

Battery developer Freyer has entered into two non-binding memoranda of understanding (MoU) for the potential development of industrial scale battery cell production in Finland. 

The MoUs with Finnish Minerals Group and the City of Vaasa come as Freyer ramps up plans to develop up to 43GWh of battery cell production capacity by 2025 and 83GWh by 2028.

The MoU with the City of Vaasa provides the exclusive right to a 90-hectare (900,000 square meters) site for a potential battery cell plant and states the parties will explore opportunities for joint site-development to accelerate the manufacturing of low-carbon and low-cost batteries in Finland.

Tom Einar Jensen, the CEO of Freyer, said the city of Vaasa offered an attractive location for a gigafactory due to its access to short-travelled raw materials, abundant renewable power and cooling water, plus an existing cluster of leading suppliers for the battery value chain.

Freyer holds an exclusive right up until 22 July next year to the selected 90-hectares, subject to certain conditions related to the progress of the project being met. 

The site is adjacent to a battery cathode material production facility planned by Johnson Matthey in strategic partnership with Finnish Minerals Group.

Finnish Minerals Group manages the Finnish State’s mining industry shareholdings, and is working actively to develop a lithium-ion battery value chain and engage in long-term technology development of the mining and battery industry. 

Finland is the largest nickel producer in the EU, and the only EU member state with industrial scale cobalt production. 

Production of lithium is also expected to commence in Finland over the next decade.  

Matti Hietanen, CEO of Finnish Minerals Group, said: “One of our strategic objectives is to create a sustainable battery value chain in Finland. 

“As part of this, our objective of introducing precursor and cathode active material production investments is already well progressed. 

“Now our disclosed strategic partnership with Freyer marks the next logical step in our work to put Finland on the map of European cell plant projects.” 

Casting equipment deal

Freyer has signed a contract with the UK’s Mpac Lambert for the supply of the casting and unit cell assembly equipment package to the battery cell production line at Freyer’s Customer Qualification Plant in Mo i Rana, Norway. 

Preparatory work on the facility is underway with a planned start date of operations in the second half of 2022.

Mpac Lambert was prequalified to participate in the competitive tender following nearly three years of cooperation with 24M Technologies on industrialising and scaling 24M’s SemiSolid lithium-ion battery platform technology. 

The company will leverage 24M’s innovative battery casting technology and in-house expertise and experience in automation and mass production systems to construct and install the equipment.

Einar Kilde, EVP Projects at Freyer, said: “The casting and unit cell assembly sits at the heart of the battery cell production process. 

“This is our first contract for critical production line machinery, and we are excited to take the important step towards achieving the milestones outlined in our project plan. 

Freyer expects to start construction this month. 

The contract with Mpac Lambert also grants Freyer options for delivery of the casting and unit cell assembly equipment packages for its planned gigafactories.

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