Koch forms JV to explore building a U.S. battery gigafactory


Koch Industries formed a partnership with  Norway-based company FREYR to evaluate building battery production gigafactories in the United States.

The 50:50 joint venture with FREYR could result in factories with an initial production capacity of 50 GWh per year by 2030. The facilities would make batteries for the electric vehicle (EV) industry and utility-scale storage.

Koch and FREYR aim to finalize the decision to build the manufacturing facility by 2022.

In late September, lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. said that Koch Strategic Platforms would make a $100 million investment. Proceeds will support the company’s growth in North America, Europe, and Asia. In addition to the new capital, Li-Cycle and several Koch Industries business units said they were exploring ways to speed up Li-Cycle’s global growth efforts.

As part of the newly announced joint venture deal, Koch and FREYR have invested $70 million in convertible promissory notes, under which KSP and FREYR will initially invest $50 million and $20 million, respectively. Upon closing of the convertible note financing, the JV entered into a new licensing agreement with 24M that will enable the JV to deploy 24M’s SemiSolid platform technology with conditional limited exclusivity in the U.S. The partners said they also have secured a conditionally exclusive license to deploy 24M’s SemiSolid technology in the U.S. for EV and energy storage systems applications.

24M’s technology reduces the number of steps required to manufacture battery cells while still using conventional lithium-ion raw materials. The production platform is intended to enable capital and operating cost savings as well as expanded opportunities to recycle materials. Using the 24M technology platform, the partners will expect to be able to provide batteries of various sizes and chemistries at commercial scale.

The joint venture partners said they are considering siting the hub close to raw-material supply sources, processing facilities, and water treatment plants.

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