Vianode invests NOK 2 billion in battery materials factory in Norway – Chemical Engineering

September 21, 2022 | By Mary Bailey

Vianode, a company owned by Elkem ASA (Oslo, Norway), Hydro and Altor, has decided to invest in its first industrial-scale factory for sustainable battery materials in Herøya, Norway.

The investment of approximately NOK 2 billion (approximately $194 million) will create new industrial jobs and supply essential battery materials. This decision is an important step towards establishing a complete battery value chain in Norway for the European market.

The industrial plant in Herøya, Norway, will produce anode graphite for approximately 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) per year by 2024. This investment is the first phase of a larger investment plan. Construction of the plant will be carried out alongside preparations for a second-phase plant designed to supply battery materials to 2 million electric vehicles per year by 2030, covering a significant share of the global electric vehicle market.

“The investment decision marks a historic milestone for Vianode and its owners and is recognition of the work provided by our employees and partners. Building on the strong support of owners Elkem, Hydro and Altor, Vianode now has a solid foundation to successfully establish industry leadership in advanced battery materials with an ecological footprint,” said Asbjørn Søvik, Acting CEO. de Vianode and Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Vianode’s graphite materials are produced with up to 90% lower CO2 emissions than current standard materials. The materials have unique performance characteristics and improve battery properties including faster charging, increased range and longer life, as well as increased safety and recyclability.

“Global demand for batteries is growing rapidly, driven by the green transition, but the production of battery materials is not being accelerated enough. Europe faces a significant deficit of graphite materials by 2030, to which Vianode intends to remedy this with our high-performance offers. Car manufacturers and authorities are also increasingly focusing on a sustainable value chain, where Vianode offers a unique offer with our low carbon footprint,” says Stian Madshus, Managing Director of Vianode.

Today, an average electric vehicle contains up to 70 kg of graphite materials, which represent a vital component of the battery. Vianode products are developed on the basis of specialized know-how in high temperature processes, closed production systems, reduction of energy consumption and access to renewable energies. This makes Vianode an important contributor to the European supply of critical materials needed for the energy transition.

Vianode has been operating an industrial pilot in Kristiansand, Norway since April 2021 and aims to establish industrial leadership in advanced battery materials in Europe and for the global market.

Founded in 2021, Vianode has around sixty employees. Today’s investment decision means the company will hire around 100 new employees, bringing the total to around 160 by the end of 2023. With a potential investment decision for a second-phase plant , that can double to 300 employees by the end of 2026. Including ripple effects, that means about 1000 jobs in total.