BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), Moscow, Russia, will partner on the production of battery materials for the European automotive market at a new plant in Harjavalta, Finland, constructed adjacent to an existing nickel and cobalt refinery owned by Nornickel.
This investment is part of BASF’s €400 million multi-step investment plan, which was announced last year, and builds on initial battery materials production begun by the company in Harjavalta in 2018. The facility is expected to begin operations in late 2020, enabling the supply of approximately 300,000 full electric vehicles per year with BASF battery materials, and will reportedly use locally-generated renewable energy sources, including hydro, wind and biomass.
Additionally, BASF and Nornickel have signed a long-term, market-based supply agreement for nickel and cobalt feedstock from Nornickel’s metal refinery. The agreement is expected to enable the company to establish a locally sourced and secure supply of raw materials for battery production in Europe.
Kenneth Lane, President, BASF’s Catalysts division, stated, “With the investment in Harjavalta, BASF will be present in all major regions with local production and increased customer proximity further supporting the rapidly growing electric vehicle market. Combined with our Nornickel cooperation, we are creating a strong platform that connects the efforts between industry leaders in raw material supply and battery materials technology and production.”
“The co-location of BASF’s new plant and Nornickel’s metal refinery in Harjavalta will enable unparalleled access to a local nickel and cobalt supply,” added Jeffrey Lou, Senior Vice President, Battery Materials at BASF. “Our high-nickel cathode materials are key to deliver enhanced energy density and vehicle range to our customers. With this world-scale production facility, BASF will be able to serve the European e-mobility growth strategies of key OEMs and cell suppliers with reliable supply and close collaboration.”
Sergey Batekhin, Senior Vice President, Sales, Procurement and Innovation at Nornickel, commented, “We are pleased to extend our alliance with BASF, one of our long-term strategic partners. The agreement is an important element of Nornickel’s broader strategy to expand its presence in the global battery materials market, and establish long-term cooperation with leading producers of cathode active materials.”
BASF’s investment in this new plant is said to reinforce the company’s support of the EU Commission’s agenda for a European battery production value chain. It stated that it is also evaluating additional locations in Europe for the construction of new production plants for battery materials.