Belgian battery materials and recycling company Umicore and PowerCo, the new battery company of the Volkswagen Group, have gained full regulatory approval for their battery cell joint venture (JV) announced in September 2022.
They said they can now swiftly proceed to prepare for large-scale industrial production of cathode active materials (CAM) and precursor materials (PCAM) in Europe.
From 2025 onwards, the JV will supply PowerCo’s European battery cell factories with key materials for production. Headquartered in Brussels, the joint venture will cover a large part of PowerCo’s EU demand and provide Umicore with secured access to an important part of the European demand for electric vehicle cathode materials.
The partners said they expect to produce CAM and PCAM for a targeted 160GWh cell capacity per year by the end of the decade. They are still searching for a production site.
Since its launch in July 2022, PowerCo has decided on three gigafactory locations: Salzgitter in Germany, Valencia in Spain and St. Thomas in Canada.
PowerCo plans to invest more than €20 billion together with partners in the development of the business area. It expects to generate annual sales in excess of €20 billion and to employ up to 20,000 people in Europe alone.
Last week, PowerCo gave the go-ahead for construction of its second cell factory in Spain. Gigafactory Valencia will start production of the unified cell in 2026 and will in time directly employ more than 3,000 people, with a further 30,000 or so indirect jobs. Annual production capacity will initially be 40GWh, but has the potential to be expanded to 60GWh.
The next gigafactory has been announced for St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.
Photo left to right: Thomas Schmall, Group Board Member for Technology at Volkswagen AG and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of PowerCo SE; Jörg Teichmann, PowerCo Chief Procurement Officer; Ralph Kiessling, EVP Energy & Surface Technologies at Umicore; Umicore CEO Mathias Miedreich.