Ex-Tesla Executives’ Startup Will Use Lignin Hard Carbon to Create Cheap Batteries
A new project launched by Sweden’s Northvolt will develop sustainable batteries for electric vehicles. The company intends to use solid carbon from alternative wood from Nordic forests. The aim is to produce the world’s first industrial battery with anodes from European raw materials, reducing carbon footprint and cost.
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The company will be responsible for leading the battery cell project, production process development and development of wood-based battery technology at its plant in Europe.
While the Finnish environmental company Stora Enso, through a joint development agreement, will provide a solid carbon anode based on lignin – a polymer found in plant cell walls that protect plant tissue. Wood is made up of 20% to 30% lignin, making it one of the largest sources of carbon.
Stora Enso’s lignin-based materials are sourced from forests and sustainably managed. Since 2015, the company has been industrially producing lignin in a pilot plant for bio-based carbon materials in Sunila, Finland. Production capacity is 50 thousand tons of vegetable polymer per year.
The wood-fired battery project is one of Northvolt’s most sustainable proposals, founded by two former Tesla executives. The startup has invested in battery cell factories in Europe and projects with unique and sustainable materials, such as nickel, manganese and 100% recycled cobalt. In this sense, the company has more than 55 billion US dollars in contracts with important customers, such as BMW, Scania, Volkswagen, Volvo Cars and Polestar.