Swedish battery manufacturer to open factory in Canada


Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt announced plans to develop a fully integrated lithium-ion battery gigafactory in Quebec, Canada. Located just outside Montréal, Northvolt Six will mimic the sustainability-centered design of Northvolt’s other facilities to accommodate 60GW/h of annual cell manufacturing capacity.  

Northvolt produces lithium-ion cells based on Lingonberry lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide or NMC.They come in cylindrical and prismatic formats. The 2170 cylindrical cells are available in three formats: Energy, Power and Life. Alternatively, prismatic cells are custom-made. The company assembles cells into battery systems for customers in energy storage and industrial markets.

Northvolt reports that it uses wind and hydroelectricity to power battery cell proanganese cobalt oxide or NMCduction. The company pairs its cathode production plant with a wastewater treatment plant, separating ammonia metals and sodium sulfate from wastewater. The pure water is then circulated back into various production practices, while the recovered ammonia is recycled for battery cell production. The sodium sulfate is purified and reintroduced to the battery market. Northvolt also repurposes 95% of the nickel manganese and cobalt in old batteries. The organization hopes to recycle 50% of all raw materials necessary for cell production by 2030.

Northvolt sources raw materials from mines and refineries whose practices adhere to international standards. Moreover, the company reports that it only works with mines and refineries with complete traceability and transparency. The Northvolt Sustainability and Annual Report 2022 states that the organization is building an in-house sourcing process to control mining and refining practices better.

Stakeholders chose to construct Northvolt Six in McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand just outside Montréal due to its proximity to raw battery materials and renewable energy. The Port of Montréal is a gateway for various minerals necessary for cell production, and it will be located close to many U.S. automotive manufacturers, which are key customers. Furthermore, Quebec hydroelectricity can provide 100% renewable energy to power Northvolt Six’s battery cell production. 

Development of the first 30 GWh phase of Northvolt Six is expected to start before the end of this year, with operations projected to begin in 2026. According to Northvolt, it will cost $5 billion to cover construction and the wages of up to 3,000 people.  The new facility is be ing developed with strong support from the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec. It represents the largest private investment in Quebec’s history, the company reports.

Northvolt uses a combination of customer off-take contracts supply contracts and limited recourse financing to fund its projects. According to Northvolt’s 2022 Sustainability report, customer contracts worth $55 billion of backlog revenue will be allocated toward developments over the next seven years. 

The company is also continuing partnerships within its group of 18 lenders and financial institutions committing credit guarantees to generate funds for future developments. Northvolt’s global shareholders also play a significant role in its execution of development projects. As of 2022, Volkswagen Finance Luxembourg SA Goldman Sachs Asset Management funds and Vargas Holding AB were Northvolt’s biggest shareholders, owning 21.1% 19.4% and 7.3% of the company’s stock, respectively. 

Northvolt co-founder Paolo Cerruti will head this project as CEO of Northvolt North America, headquartered in Montréal. He said that this facility will accelerate Quebec’s emergence as a key actor in the global energy transition. The comopany reports that Northvolt battery cells are currently designed and developed at Northvolt Labs in Västerås, Sweden, and Northvolt Cuberg in San Leandro, California.

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