New partnership agreement helps to move Europe closer to large-scale battery cell production.
The signed memorandum of understanding between Belgium based battery company Novali and industrial automation solution supplier Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V. demonstrates quite how soon that agreement may be realized.
Novali was set-up to finance and deliver multiple ‘giga factories’ across Europe, with production scheduled to start in 2025. In order to meet these deadlines Novali has signed a technology partnership agreement with Mitsubishi Electric Europe.
‘The relationship will encompass fast deployment of existing automation solutions for battery cell production, and then collaboration to build the value chain for the next generation of batteries manufactured in Europe.’ Klaus Petersen, Director Lithium Battery Industry EMEA, Mitsubishi Electric Europe BV
Mitsubishi Electric has long term experience in supplying automation solutions in the lithium cell manufacturing industry in Asia, and a well-established customer base of machine builders in Europe. While the value chain in Europe still needs to be built up, the partners aim at creating a network of local machine builders capable of delivering a complete cell manufacturing line at gigawatt hour (GWh) scale. The focus will be on building best in class cells while avoiding wastage within the process, something that has so far been a challenge in the sector.
The company also believes that its mission goes beyond commercial necessities and extends to the general challenge of sustainability. The target is to achieve CO2 neutral manufacture of batteries. One of the key aspects is reducing consumption of energy and raw materials, which is also why a high-level of factory automation is required. The cell manufacturing process itself is challenging and Mitsubishi Electric’s automation solutions have already proven how well they can manage this task, setting high production quality standards while still prioritizing energy efficiency.
‘Novali provides a platform for scaling up manufacturing of next generation battery technology. On the one hand we partner up with technology companies that are frontrunners in their respective field, and on the other hand we work together with automotive and industrial partners like Mitsubishi Electric for developing the supply chain and bringing the batteries into mass production.
As a startup, we are agile and able to quickly set up collaborations with technology companies. This allows us to jointly offer automotive vehicle OEMs flexibility and a future-proof mix of different technologies.
We plan to manufacture four generations of battery cells. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO) or (LFP) cells for low-cost market segments, state-of-the-art nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) cells transitioning to high voltage cathodes and silicon anodes for mid-market segments. Solid state or lithium metal batteries we predict will enter the market at a premium.
Another important aspect is that the batteries should be available at a high volume. This requires record investments in cell manufacturing and the downstream supply chain. We are working together with global investment funds and industrial partners setting up joint ventures with automotive companies to achieve this.
Manufacturing equipment and general factory automation is a crucial element in the supply chain. Mitsubishi Electric has decades of experience supplying automation products to all the incumbent cell and equipment manufacturers in Asia. The goal of this alliance is to tap into this expertise for establishing a local ecosystem of European manufacturers.’ Roald De Meyer.
Novali is a cell manufacturing company serving the mobility and energy storage markets. We offer technology companies a platform for scaling next-generation battery technology. Our mission is to contribute to the realization of the energy transition by increasing the energy and power densities and reducing the cost of batteries. We believe batteries should be manufactured CO2 neutral, relying on local supply chains and recycled materials. We also believe that industry should serve the general wellbeing of people and find it important that Novali, as a direct employer and indirectly through the employees of our suppliers and through the local communities we impact, serves this purpose.