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Taking a step further to maintain sustainability in battery production, Finland-based forest products manufacturer Stora Enso and lithium-ion battery producer Northvolt inked an agreement to develop what is claimed to be the world’s first industrialized battery produced with renewable wood from the Nordic forests of Finland and Sweden.
The batteries will be made using lignin-based hard carbon produced with wood in the Nordic greens. Lignin is a polymer derived from a plant. It is found in the cell walls of dry-land plants. It acts as a natural and strong binder, given that trees are composed of 20-30% lignin.
Stora Enso and Northvolt have signed an agreement to create a sustainable battery with anode produced from renewable raw materials like lignin. Both companies are well-equipped with the components, competence, and expertise required for battery production.
The pulp and paper manufacturer will provide its lignin-based anode material lignode, derived from the sustainably managed Nordic forests. Northvolt will manage the cell design, production process development, and scaling-up of the above technology.
Stora Enso has been in the industrial production of lignode from lignin since 2015. The company’s pilot plant for bio-based carbon materials is located at its Sunila production site in Finland, where lignin is produced.
The annual lignin production capacity is 50,000 tons, making Stora Enso the largest kraft lignin producer in the world. The company is conducting a feasibility study to evaluate the establishment of its first industrial production of lignode at the Sunila site.
According to Northvolt, it has over $55 billion worth of contracts from its vast customer base, which includes BMW, Fluence, Scania, Volkswagen, Volvo Cars, and Polestar. The company aims to establish recycling capabilities to enable 50% of all its raw material requirements to be sourced from recycled batteries by 2030.
Northvolt recently signed a $1.1 billion convertible note to finance its expansion of battery cell and cathode material production to cater to the rapidly expanding demand for batteries.
According to a recent Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research survey, Europe is expected to achieve a battery cell production capacity of 124 GWh in 2022. The survey forecasts that by 2025, European battery cell production will quadruple to over 500 GWh and reach up to 1.5 TWh by 2030.