Northvolt Will Convert Swedish Paper Mill To New Battery Factory

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Northvolt, the Swedish battery company started by former Tesla engineer Peter Carlsson, is thriving. To date, the company has secured more than $50 billion worth of contracts from key customers including BMW, Fluence, Scania, Volkswagen, Volvo Cars, and Polestar. As part of the company’s focus on building a sustainable battery manufacturing business, the new factory will include recycling capabilities that will allow 50% of all its raw material requirements to be sourced from recycled batteries by 2030.

In a press release this week, the company says it has signed of a letter of intent to purchase the Kvarnsveden Mill and the surrounding industrial area in Borlänge, Sweden. That site was previously a paper mill that was closed last year. Northvolt will develop the site into a manufacturing plant for active material and battery cells, reusing and refurbishing much of the existing facilities and site infrastructure.

The new factory is  expected to begin operating in late 2024, utilizing 100% clean energy to produce up to 100 GWh of cathode material a year to support cell assembly at multiple Northvolt facilities. The project will create more than 1,000 new jobs.

Peter Carlsson says, “Since Northvolt’s founding, we have focused on circular battery production, but this is the first time we will reuse an entire production site. With its access to energy, industrial water and the broad production know-how in the region, Kvarnsveden is an optimal site for a gigafactory. We are thrilled to be able to open a new chapter in Borlänge’s history as a global industrial hub.”

Founded in 1900, the mill produced pulp and paper for over 120 years until its closure in 2021, laying off over 400 people. The agreement is the result of a strong commitment by Stora Enso, the former owner of the mill, to find the best long term solution for its former employees and the city of Borlänge. Key managers from the Kvarnsveden site will stay on during a transfer period to best utilize the current infrastructure and enable a swift transformation.

“Sustainability is the main priority for Stora Enso and has to be addressed also in difficult times. Hence, a key focus since our decision to close the site has been to find a new owner that, to the benefit of the local society, can continue Stora Enso’s long and sustainable driven legacy at Kvarnsveden. Like Stora Enso, Northvolt delivers modern and innovative solutions that contribute to a climate friendly future. Through this agreement, Kvarnsveden will become a foundation for continued growth, both for Northvolt and the city of Borlänge,” says Per Lyrvall, the manager for Swedish operations at Stora Enso.

The project moves Northvolt forward in its mission to deliver the world’s greenest lithium-ion battery and establish a sustainable supply of batteries to enable the decarbonization of society. The factory will play a key role in fulfilling more than $50 billion in orders from key customers and joins a wider European production network of facilities being developed together with partners in Sweden, Norway, Poland, Germany, and Portugal.

“There is a massive global demand for sustainable, high-quality lithium ion battery cells and systems. With the blueprint developed at Northvolt Labs and Northvolt Ett, we will now put in another gear to scale up production even faster and larger than before,” says Carlsson. This is good news for the EV revolution.


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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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