- The EIB has approved a loan for the construction and operation of a first-of-a-kind demonstration plant in Västerås, Sweden, for the manufacturing of li-ion batteries.
- The loan, of up to EUR 52.5 million is set to be supported by the European Commission through InnovFin, under the “Energy Demo Projects” (EDP) Facility.
The Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved a loan request from Northvolt AB. The financing, a facility of up to EUR 52.5 million, is projected to be supported by InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators’s Energy Demonstration Projects facility, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.
The parties will now finalise negotiations and, after signature, Northvolt is expected to begin construction of its demonstration line in the coming months. This facility will serve to show the commercial viability of the concept and to qualify and industrialize products together with Northvolt’s customers. The produced batteries are targeted for use in transport, stationary storage, and industrial and consumer applications.
The demonstration site will also comprise a research facility and in total the Västerås operations will employ between 300-400 people. The launch of the demonstration plant is a key step towards the establishment of Northvolt’s large-scale li-ion battery factory in Skellefteå, eventually targeting a production of 32 GWh worth of battery capacity annually.
Ambroise Fayolle, vice-president of the EIB, commented: "The Bank is fulfilling one of its main purposes by supporting this type of research and development in Europe. With the growing momentum of clean energy and electric mobility, batteries will become ever more important. Europe is currently lagging behind when it comes to battery manufacturing and this highly innovative and strategic project deserves European backing to fill that gap."
Peter Carlsson, CEO of Northvolt, added: "Europe is moving rapidly towards electrification. Northvolt’s objective is to build the world’s greenest battery to enable the transition. With the support from the European Investment Bank and the European Union, we are now one step closer to establishing a competitive European battery manufacturing value chain."
Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: "Batteries are a strategic component of our competitiveness and to capture a new European market worth EUR 250 billion annually as of 2025, we need to act fast. I therefore welcome the decision taken by the EIB, which will help this industry-led project take off the ground. It is important to pool all available instruments at the national and European level, such as InnovFin. The European Battery Alliance will continue supporting prospective partnerships throughout the value chain."
EC Commissioner Carlos Moedas, in charge of Research, Science and Innovation, said: "I am happy to see EU loans enabling real market-creating innovation. With 40% of all patents for renewable technologies belonging to European companies, the EU is undoubtedly leading the fight against climate change. But many of Europe's great innovations in clean energy technologies end up being produced elsewhere, meaning that others make much more money out of European innovations than we do. Today's decision will help to correct this."
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. In 2017 alone, the Bank made available nearly EUR 2.34 bln in loans for Swedish projects in various sectors, including research & development, industry, nearly-zero-energy-buildings and telecommunications.
Northvolt was founded in 2016 with the mission to build the world's greenest battery, with a minimal carbon footprint and the highest ambitions for recycling, to enable the European transition to renewable energy. Later during 2018, Northvolt plans to start construction for a large-scale lithium-ion battery factory in Skellefteå in the north of Sweden. This will serve as the main production site, which includes active material preparation, cell assembly, recycling and auxiliaries. In total, the Skellefteå operations will employ between 2000-2500 people.
InnovFin Energy Demonstration Projects provides loans, loan guarantees or equity-type financing typically between EUR 7.5m and EUR 75m to innovative demonstration projects in the fields of energy system transformation, including but not limited to renewable energy technologies, smart energy systems, energy storage, carbon capture and storage or carbon capture and use, helping them to bridge the gap from demonstration to commercialisation. The product is rolled out directly by the EIB.