The Ludwigshafen chemical group BASF and metal producer Nornickel have joined forces to jointly cover the increasing demand for battery materials in the future. The first production plant of the company cooperation is built in Finland. Harjavalta, Finland, was chosen as the first location. The plant will be built in close proximity to Norilsk Nickel’s (Nornickel) nickel and cobalt refinery.
BASF is investing over EUR 400 million as part of a multi-stage investment plan. It builds on a production of battery materials in Harjavalta that started in 2018. The start of production is planned for the end of 2020 and will equip around 300.000 electric vehicles per year with battery materials from BASF. The plant in Harjavalta relies on locally generated, renewable energy sources such as water, wind and biomass right from the production stage.
Together, BASF and Nornickel have entered into a long-term, market-based supply agreement for the raw materials nickel and cobalt from Nornickel‘s metals refinery. This agreement ensures a reliable supply of locally mined raw materials for battery production in Europe. With the new plant in Finland, BASF supports the objective of the European Commission to build a European value chain for battery production. BASF is currently examining other locations in Europe for the construction of new production facilities for battery materials.
“BASF will present with the investment in Harjavalta in all major regions with local production and still significantly closer to the customer. This will continue to support the fast-growing market for electric vehicles. The investment together with the strategic cooperation with nornickel will create a strong platform that connects the commitment of the two leading companies in the field of raw material supply as well as battery material research and production.”- Kenneth Lane, Head of the BASF Catalysts division
BASF supplies battery materials to almost all platforms of leading automobile manufacturers (Original Equipment Manufacturers, OEMs) and expects further growth for their business. In 2017, BASF expanded its production capacity in Asia, strengthened its presence in the US and announced plans to expand its production capacity in Europe.
For BASF, the development of the automotive industry towards e-mobility is a good thing. Because this means that the value of the chemical products in the car increases and with it the potential sales of BASF in the vehicles. However, the focus will not only be on the battery, because paints that reflect the radiation could also be an issue.
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