29/09/2022 – Industrial-scale plant for sustainable battery materials
Vianode invests NOK 2 billion
Vianode, a company owned by Elkem, Hydro and Altor, has decided to invest in its first industrial-scale plant for sustainable battery materials at Herøya in Norway.
The investment of around NOK 2 billion will create new industrial jobs and provide critical battery materials. The decision is an important step towards establishing a complete battery value chain in Norway for the European market.
The industrial plant at Herøya, Norway, will produce anode graphite for about 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) per year by 2024. This investment is the first phase in a larger investment plan. The plant construction will be carried out in parallel with preparations for a second phase plant scaled to provide battery materials to 2 million EVs per year by 2030, covering a significant share of the global EV market.
“The investment decision marks a historic step for Vianode and its owners and is a recognition of the work put in by both our employees and partners. Based on strong support from owners Elkem, Hydro and Altor, Vianode now has a solid foundation to succeed with building industrial leadership in advanced battery materials with a green footprint,” says Asbjørn Søvik, Vianode’s interim CEO and executive chair of the board.
The graphite materials from Vianode are produced with up to 90 percent lower CO2 emissions than today’s standard materials. The materials have unique performance characteristics and improve the properties in batteries, including faster charging, increased range and longer service life, as well as increased safety and recyclability.
“The global demand for batteries is growing rapidly, driven by the green transition, but there is not sufficient ramp-up of battery materials production. Europe is facing a significant shortfall of graphite materials towards 2030, which Vianode aims to address with our high-performance offerings. Automakers and authorities are also increasingly focused on a sustainable value chain, where Vianode has a unique offering with our low CO2 footprint,” says Stian Madshus, general manager for Vianode.
Today, an EV contains on average up to 70 kg of graphite materials, representing a vital component of the battery. Vianode’s products are developed based on specialized know how in high-temperature processes, closed production systems, lower energy consumption and access to renewable energy. This makes Vianode an important contributor to the European supply of critical materials needed for the energy transition.
Vianode has operated an industrial pilot in Kristiansand, Norway since April 2021 and has ambitions to establish industrial leadership in advanced battery materials in Europe and for the global market.
Founded in 2021, Vianode has around 60 employees. Today’s investment decision means that the company will be recruiting approximately 100 new hires, bringing the total to around 160 by the end of 2023. With a potential investment decision for a second phase plant, this can double to 300 employees by the end of 2026. Including ripple effects, this means around 1000 jobs in total.
Vianode is built upon technological advancements and decades of industrial experience, backed by Elkem, Hydro and Altor. Following successful pilot production, the company is now scaling up towards full scale production in Norway. Vianode’s range of anode graphite products offer unique performance characteristics and are produced with up to 90 percent lower CO2 emissions than today's standard materials – supporting the ambitions of leading battery cell and automotive manufacturers while accelerating the green transition. Our purpose: Driving responsible electrification.
Elkem is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced material solutions shaping a better and more sustainable future. The company develops silicones, silicon products and carbon solutions by combining natural raw materials, renewable energy and human ingenuity. Elkem helps its customers create and improve essential innovations like electric mobility, digital communications, health and personal care as well as smarter and more sustainable cities. With a strong track record since 1904, its global team of more than 7,000 people has a joint commitment to stakeholders: Delivering your potential. In 2022, Elkem obtained a Platinum score from EcoVadis, which rated the company among the world's top 1% on sustainability transparency, and the company achieved an operating income of NOK 33.7 billion.