French industrial company Verkor has revealed that it has raised €100m of funding in less than a year, which it will utilise to research and produce sustainable battery cells.
In less than 12 months since its inception, Verkor, which is co-led by the Renault Group and EQT Ventures, has succeeded in procuring €100m of funding, which will be employed to finance a state-of-the-art research and development facility and pilot line for the development of high-performance, sustainable battery cells, and intelligent manufacturing.
A new infrastructure for sustainable battery cells
Their novel R&D facility – the Verkor Innovation Centre (VIC) – will be a hub for attaining Europe’s net-zero targets, designing, and fabricating the next generation of sustainable battery cells and modules to achieve these goals and edge us closer to a carbon-neutral Europe. Ten partners will be collaborating with Verkor to accomplish this vision including, the French Government, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, EIT InnoEnergy, Groupe IDEC, Schneider Electric, Capgemini, Arkema, Tokai COBEX and the Fund for Ecologic Modernisation of Transport (FMET). The collective effort of the ten organisations is working towards one common goal, to establish a competitive, local, sustainable battery cell value chain in Europe.
Verkor is aiming to implement this by achieving a manufacturing capacity of 16 GWh in their sustainable battery cells by 2024, which they are seeking to scale up to +50 GWh by 2030. The groundbreaking Verkor Innovation Centre, which will be located in Grenoble, will be operational in 2022, becoming home to a pilot line for manufacturing sustainable battery cells, an R&D centre, module prototyping, and testing facilities, in addition to providing industry-leading training to the next generation of technicians and engineers.
Benoit Lemaignan, Verkor’s CEO, said: “We are honoured to have shareholders of such a high quality on board with us. I want to thank our team for what we have achieved together in less than a year of existence. Our new shareholding structure totally reflects our ambition: an end-to-end approach to battery manufacturing, each of us focusing on what we do best while cross-fertilising our expertise.”
Gregory Bernstein, an Investor at EQT Ventures, said: “The world’s energy transition to net-zero will require innovation excellence, execution, and bold vision. This is also exactly what we look for in the teams that we want to invest in and why we at EQT Ventures are thrilled to join our other partners in backing the Verkor team on their journey to lead the way in Europe.”
Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the French Minister of Industry, commented: “I welcome this new partnership which is another building block in the industrial and technological ecosystem for batteries in France and in Europe. With the automotive industry facing unprecedented challenges, the investments we make today will turn into tomorrow’s jobs. We are supporting Verkor’s growth through CORAM, the French orientation committee for automotive and mobility research, which is financed by the French future investment programme, the PIA. Our goal is to accelerate the development of innovative digital processes for battery cell manufacturing, which will be implemented in the future Gigafactory”.
Maroš Šefčovič, the EU Commission’s VP for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, said: “This partnership is yet another proof that the European Battery Alliance is making a real difference on the ground. In three years, Europe has become a global hotspot for battery investment, showing that we can achieve open strategic autonomy in this key industrial sector. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and collaboration of all actors, including our innovative industrial actors and our Member States. France, with its strong commitment to sustainable mobility, is clearly among our leading forces.”
An array of expertise
Verkor’s new partners bring to the table a plethora of industry-leading expertise that will help to realise a net-zero Europe through the production of sustainable battery cells, such as Arkema, who are world leaders in high-performance speciality materials, and Tokai COBEX, a speciality manufacturer of low-carbon, ultra-efficient battery anode materials.
Furthermore, financial support for the R&D programme will be provided by the French Government, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, and Bpifrance, with Demeter adding additional assistance through its Fund for Ecological Modernisation of Transport (FMET). The trusted European ecosystem of EIT InnoEnergy, Groupe IDEC’s property development nous, Schneider Electric’s industrial manufacturing expertise, and Capgemini’s applied science know-how will ensure the successful development of the VIC and future Gigafactory.
This monumental announcement comes just one week after Verkor revealed its partnership with the Renault Group, which will see Verkor deliver a minimum of 10 GWh annually for the C and higher segments of the Renault range, including their Alpine models.