Vianode signs MoU with Morrow Batteries for supply of battery materials

Source: press release, 19 May 2021

Vianode, an Elkem company, is a producer of sustainably engineered battery materials that increase safety and reduce charging time in electric vehicles and other sophisticated energy storage applications
Vianode, an Elkem company, is a producer of sustainably engineered battery materials that increase safety and reduce charging time in electric vehicles and other sophisticated energy storage applications (photo: Vianode)

Vianode and Morrow Batteries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and qualification of large-scale supply of anode materials to Morrow Batteries’ planned lithium-ion battery cell facility in Eyde Energy Park, Arendal, Norway. Vianode, established by Elkem as a new company for battery materials, intends to supply the anode materials from its planned large-scale plant for battery graphite at Herøya Industrial Park, Norway.

Vianode and Morrow will, as part of the agreement, jointly develop tailored, high-end anode materials suited for applications of Morrow lithium-ion cells, including both synthetic graphite and silicon-containing anode materials. The joint development will aim to exploit the synergies of both companies’ innovative production process and product design, to enhance performance and safety of battery cells. The collaboration is intended to result in a long-term, high volume supply agreement for anode materials. The agreement is non-binding, and non-exclusive.

“We see great interest in Vianode’s planned large-scale production of sustainable active anode materials and have established dialogue with the leading battery cell manufacturers in Norway, Europe and the US. The marketplace conservatively expects the battery demand growth to increase ten times over the current decade, and we expect the same development for battery materials. We look forward to continuing the partnership with Morrow, as an important partner towards large-scale production of battery materials,” says Chris York, VP of Vianode.

Vianode has received NOK 10 million in financial support from Enova to fund the initial planning of the potential large-scale battery materials plant in Norway. The project has also previously received grants from Innovation Norway related to a pilot plant and is on the shortlist for support from EU’s Innovation Fund with preliminary scores in the upper tier in relation to “degree of innovation”, “project maturity” and “relative GHG emissions”.

Vianode’s large-scale project aims to supply the fast-growing battery industry through a competitive production process and make batteries greener with more than 90% lower CO2 emissions. Vianode has selected Herøya, one of the biggest industrial parks in Norway, as the project site.

“Our ambition is to produce the most cost-effective and sustainable batteries in the world. Partnerships like this with suppliers based in Europe will ensure world-leading regional supply of battery materials to our facilities, whilst keeping the CO2-footprint as low as possible. This partnership is a good example of how we envision the development of the Battery Coast, a circular ecosystem built with industrial partners around the battery value chain,” says Terje Andersen, CEO of Morrow Batteries.

Later this year, Morrow Batteries will begin construction of its Battery Innovation Centre and Pilot Factory in Southern Norway. With these facilities Morrow will bring component development, cell design and large volume manufacturing to Norway. Here Morrow will develop and manufacture the world’s most sustainable batteries based on utilising advantaged battery materials from world leading industrial partners, and the lowest renewable energy prices in Europe. This, coupled to proximity to volume European markets, are the foundation of our sustainable value creation.

Vianode continues to progress the large-scale project, towards a final investment decision in 2021 with potential construction start expected before the end of 2021. Vianode is inviting industrial and financial partners to participate. Vianode is continuing to carry out advanced research on silicon-graphite composite materials for improved battery performance for the years to come. The company is participating in the Hydra and 3beLiEVe research projects on next generation lithium-ion batteries, coordinated by SINTEF and the Austrian Institute of Technology, respectively. Both projects have received funding from the EU Horizon programme. Vianode is also investing in R&D on recycling of battery-grade graphite which is supported by the Research Council of Norway.