A polymer called lignin is present in the cell walls of plants that grow on dry land. It’s what gives trees, which contain up to 30% lignin, their vigor. It ranks among the largest renewable carbon sources. As businesses worldwide learn, an excessive reliance on far-off suppliers can result in serious supply chain disruptions, Northvolt, a Swedish battery producer, is keenly interested in acquiring more of the raw materials it requires from local sources.
A Finnish firm called Stora Enso (which happens to be next door to Sweden, for those of you who were out sick the day they taught world geography in school). It claims to be the world’s largest private forest owner. Its business is centered on offering the worldwide community renewable products for packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction, and paper. According to the business, everything that is currently made from fossil fuels can be made from trees in the future.
Northvolt and Stora Enso report that they are collaborating to develop sustainable batteries that use lignin-based hard carbon made from renewable wood from Nordic forests. This information is contained in an press release published this week. The goal is to create the first industrialized battery in the world with an anode made exclusively of European raw materials, reducing both the cost and the carbon footprint.
The combined battery development with Northvolt is a significant milestone in our mission to provide sustainable anode materials generated from trees to the rapidly expanding battery market. According to Johanna Hagelberg, head of biomaterials at Stora Enso, “Lignode, our lignin-based hard carbon, will safeguard the strategic European supply of anode raw material, servicing the sustainable battery needs for applications ranging from mobility to stationary energy storage.”
Stora Enso will provide the Lignode made from its sustainably managed forests, while Northvolt will be in charge of designing, developing the production process, and scaling up the Lignode-based technology.
Through this collaboration, we are investigating a fresh source of environmentally friendly raw materials, extending the European battery value chain, and creating a less priced battery chemistry. According to Emma Nehrenheim, chief environmental officer at Northvolt, it is an exciting illustration of how our goal of a sustainable battery sector goes hand in hand with having a beneficial influence on society and costs.
In Finland’s Sunila, where lignin has been produced commercially since 2015, Stora Enso has developed a prototype facility for bio-based carbon products. The company is the biggest producer of kraft lignin in the world thanks to its current lignin production capacity of 50,000 tons per year.
According to CNBC , businesses including Volvo Cars, BMW, and Volkswagen have placed orders with Northvolt for goods valued more than $55 billion. Northvolt’s first battery facility has begun shipping battery cells to clients in Europe. A recent $1.1 billion fundraising round for Northvolt included Volkswagen.
For those of us who support the EV revolution, the ability to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles using locally available sustainable materials is fantastic news.
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