VW obtains environmentally friendly lithium from the Upper Rhine Rift

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In addition, cooperation with Umicore on cathode materials and with 24M on a new battery production process

VW obtains environmentally friendly lithium from the Upper Rhine Rift-rhine

After Renault and Stellantis, now also Volkswagen: The lithium from the Upper Rhine Rift is currently in vogue with car manufacturers. The Vulcan Group has now signed the third purchase agreement for the important battery raw material.

As with Renault and Stellantis, the agreement has a term of five years and delivery will begin in 2026. Unlike the competitors, this time it was not the automaker but Vulcan itself that distributed the news. The company did not provide any information on the agreed delivery quantity. However, the VW Group has secured a right of first refusal for additional Vulcan capacities. The prerequisites for the deal include successful commencement of commercial operations and full product qualification.

With the agreement, the VW Group is also securing climate-neutral lithium from brine, which is pumped to the surface of the earth in southwest Germany. The lithium is expected to be processed in Volkswagen’s European cell factories. Six gigafactories with a total production capacity of 240 GWh are to be built on the continent by the end of the decade.

More about Vulcan: VW obtains environmentally friendly lithium from the Upper Rhine Rift-lithium Vulcan Energy will supply Stellantis with German lithium from 2026

VW obtains environmentally friendly lithium from the Upper Rhine Rift-environmentally Renault receives lithium from the Upper Rhine Trench from Vulcan Energie

Cooperations with Umicore and 24M

In addition, Volkswagen announced a joint venture with the metallurgy specialist Umicore, which is to supply the Group’s European cell factories with cathode material. These materials are for the VW "unit cell" which the group announced at its Power Day in March.

The unit cell is to be manufactured from 2025 with an initial capacity of 20 GWh, according to VW. This apparently only affects the battery cell factory in Salzgitter, because at Northvolt Ett in northern Sweden production is to start as early as 2023 – at least according to the announcement in March. By the end of the decade, the standard cell should produce up to 160 GWh, which is enough for around 2.2 million electric cars.

VW also participates in the American battery start-up 24M Technologies. Together with this spin-off from the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), VW wants to develop production technologies for cell factories. 24M has developed a semi-solid electrode for lithium-ion batteries in which the electrode is encased in a clay-like slurry, as the company explains on its website.

Through the technology should material consumption can be reduced and production simplified and cheaper. A new subsidiary of VW is to further develop and scale the technology for automotive applications. The introduction of the process into large-scale production is planned for the second half of the decade.

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