July 28, 2022: Finnish renewable products firm Stora Enso said on July 22 it was branching out into batteries with Swedish gigafactory developer Northvolt — to create a “sustainable battery” featuring anode produced using lignin-based hard carbon made from Nordic forest wood.
The partners have entered into a joint development agreement for the project that will use renewable raw materials sourced sustainably in Nordic countries.
Lignin is a plant-derived polymer found in the cell walls of dry-land plants, the companies said. “Trees are composed of 20%–30% of lignin, where it acts as a natural and strong binder. It is one of the biggest renewable sources of carbon anywhere.”
Stora Enso’s pilot plant for bio-based carbon materials, at the group’s Sunila production site in Finland, has been producing lignin on an industrial scale since 2015 with an annual production capacity of 50,000 tonnes.
Northvolt chief environmental officer Emma Nehrenheim said: “With this partnership, we are exploring a new source of sustainable raw material and expanding the European battery value chain, while also developing a less expensive battery chemistry.”
The battery developer said on July 5 it had signed a $1.1 billion convertible note to finance its expansion of battery cell and cathode material production in Europe.
The announcement came after Northvolt said on June 29 it had started commercial deliveries of lithium ion battery cells to European automotive customers from its first battery gigafactory, Northvolt Ett.