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GLOBALOUTLOOK EXECUTIVEDECISION


Freyr putsNorway onthe batterymap


THE COMPANY PLANS TO TURN ITS MO I RANA SITE INTO A GLOBAL BATTERY MANUFACTURING HOTSPOT. JACOPO DETTONI REPORTS


lying technologies powering up electric vehi- cles (EVs). Oslo-based, NewYork Stock Exchange (NYSE)-listed Freyr Battery wants to change this, capitalising on the country’s abundant, convenient supply of hydropower to produce lithium-ion batteries and become a catalyst for the development of a domestic energy storage value chain. “There is no reason why Norway, with its


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energy- and process-intensive industries, and availability of power, shouldn’t be at the fore- front [of battery development],” TomEinar Jensen, co-founder and chief executive of Freyr, tells fDi. Battery EVs accounted for 54% of total car


sales in Norway in 2020, a percentage that grows to 76.6% when including plug-in hybrid vehicles, according to figures fromthe Norwegian Electric Car Association. No other country in Europe has such a high penetration of EVs, or even comes close—the average across the EU stood at 10.2%in 2020, according to database EVvolumes.com. Mr Einar Jensen believes Norway is not only


a great place to sell EVs, but also one to manu- facture electric battery cells. Following in the footsteps of another Nordic battery champion, Swedish Nortvolt, the company set up in 2018 and made its debut on the NYSE three years later, raising $704mthrough a ‘business com- bination’ with special purpose acquisition company Alussa Energy. The company will deploy the funds to


develop itsmanufacturing base inMoi Rana, in the north of Norway. “Now we have the equity capital to start


building facilities and we havemade a final decision on the first of five plants inMoi Rana,” Mr Einar Jensen says. “Our ambition is to become a global champion in the battery cell manufacturing space with 43 gigawatt hours (GWh) installed by 2025.” The five facilities with a total capacity of


35GWh planned inMoi Rana will serve this purpose, as well as the targeted8GWh to be developed through joint ventures in Norway and other Nordic regions. Overall, the com- pany plans to invest $1.38bn inMoi Rana and another $565mfor joint ventures by 2025, according to its June capitalmarket update.


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TomEinar Jensen: “We have the equity capital to start building facilities” “There is acomparative advantage of produc-


ing batteries inNorway, wherewehave large availability of low-cost green power,”MrEinar Jensen, pointing out that energy usage accounts for40%to50%of production costs of lithium- ion batteries. At $0.048 kilowatt hours,Norway offers business the lowest power ratesamong OECDcountries, and one of the lowest in the world, according to database GlobalPetrolPrices. com. As a reference, electricity rates for busi- nesseswere 4.6 times higher in the UK, 4.8 times higher in Italy and 4.85 times in Germany. Cost is just part of the equation.


Hydropowermakes upmore than 90%of Norway’s electricity generation, limiting the environmental footprint of the country’s energy matrix—at least to some extent, as the environmental footprint of hydropower dams is still amatter of debate worldwide. “If batteries are a catalyst for e-mobility, they


themselves have to be decarbonised asmuch as possible,”MrEinar Jensen says, adding that Freyr plans to reach net-zeroemissions on the batteries it produces in the next five to 10 years, as all prospective clients are demanding it. Questioned over the doubts concerning


the sustainability of upstream operations, such as the mining of key battery materials, Mr Einar Jensen says Freyr is pulling three levers when negotiating contracts with raw material suppliers: “We are demanding full traceability, decarbonisation and material recycling perspectives.”■


www.fDiIntelligence.com August/September 2021 PROJECTPROFILE


FREYR BATTERY Location Mo i Rana, Norway


Production Lithium-ion battery cells


Targeted capacity 35GWh by 2025


Expected capex $1.38bn


orway has spearheaded the e-mobility revolution in Europe, but so far has had little role in developing the under-


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