Vianode up-scale battery materials production with new facility

Pioneers of sustainable battery materials production, Vianode, have successfully obtained a building lease that will enable them to upscale the production of clean energy solutions.

The new site will be situated at the Herøya Industrial Park in Porsgrunn, Norway, allowing Vianode to increase the production capacity of its highly engineered active anode materials that are crucial in the manufacture of electric vehicles and energy storage technologies.

This significant increase in manufacturing capabilities will be incredibly beneficial for Europe as it strives toward meeting the ambitious objectives outlined in the European Green deal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, providing precious sustainable battery materials to meet this goal.

Vianode: A rich history in the advanced materials sector

Vianode, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elkem ASA, has honed its expertise in the field of advanced material solutions for over 100 years, with the company utilising their comprehensive knowledge, cutting-edge technology, and clean processing to create sustainable batteries that support the green transition.

Vianode already has a fully operational industrial pilot facility in Kristiansand, Norway, that comprises a state-of-the-art laboratory and development centre proficient in meeting specific customer requirements. The acquisition of the new building demonstrates the sizeable ambitions of Vianode to be at the forefront of European battery material production.

The new building is located next to where Vianode is aiming to establish a large-scale plant, which is intended for a fast-track option to meet the growing demand, shortening the time to get the materials on the market. Additionally, the plant will be utilised to design and develop further innovative technologies and process development.

Chris York, the VP at Vianode, said: “Our industrial pilot in Kristiansand, Norway, is now operational with over 200 metric tonnes of annual capacity available for customer development with scaled-up equipment. At the same time, we see an acceleration in the market driving a need for larger volumes of industrially produced materials earlier than expected. Our objective for a fast-track plant is a response to this customer demand.”

Fuelling electric vehicle production

The addition of a Vianode fast-track plant will add an extra 5,000 metric tonnes of production capacity, equating to a total capacity of 60,000 metric tonnes of synthetic graphite, enough to produce around one million electric vehicles annually.

“Our ambition is to be able to deliver sustainably produced, high quality, active anode materials for the exponentially growing electric vehicle market starting from the end of 2022”, said Stian Madshus, VP and General Manager Europe at Vianode.

The Vianode project will see the company employ an array of highly-skilled, specialised workers, boosting the economy in the region and putting Norway on the electric vehicle automotive map. Furthermore, their advanced battery materials have been demonstrated to have increased safety and reduce electric vehicle charging times when compared to other resources.

Sverre Gotaas, the CEO of Herøya Industrial Park AS, said: “It is very positive that Vianode has signed an agreement to lease building 132. Vianode plans to start a fast-track plant, and the building and infrastructure are excellent for the purpose. This lease agreement strengthens our belief in a decision to invest in large-scale industrial production at Herøya Industrial Park.”

In addition to this endeavour, Vianode and Elkem are aiming to further enhance future battery performance by conducting advanced research on silicon-graphite composite materials. The company is also participating in the Hydra and 3beLiEVe research projects for next-generation lithium-ion batteries; the initiatives are organised by SINTEF, and the Austrian Institute of Technology, respectively, and are both funded by the EU Horizon programme. The Norwegian research council is also supporting efforts from Vianode to create sustainable methods of recycling battery-grade graphite.

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