Norway has some seriously green ambitions. Not least, to become the world’s first country to end the sale of fossil-fuel powered cars, with a 2025 deadline. Approximately 60% of fully electric vehicles make up monthly sales in the country. Favourable policy support, high fuel prices and plenty of home charging options have been driving Norwegians be more sustainable. While the electrification of the global transport sector is boosting demand for lithium-ion batteries. And it’s fair to say the country is demonstrating it’s a leader in the global transition to an inclusive green economy.
From EV tech consumer to producer
Until now, Norway has been more of a consumer of EV technology, rather than a producer; a hungry one at that. But, a new era may be on the horizon – in the form of EV battery manufacturing. According to the Bloomberg article ‘The Nordics are going even greener’, a Norwegian start-up called Freyr AS is building up to 43 gigawatt-hours of battery-making capacity in northern Norway. While Morrow Batteries aims to have a gig-cell battery plant up and running in southern Norway by 2024. If successful, could Norway be one of the first countries to boast a circular EV economy?
All eyes on EV battery production
But these start-ups are not alone; the incumbents are also watching. Panasonic, Equinor and Norsk Hydro have been eyeing up opportunities to set up a lithium-ion battery production business in Norway, assumingly targeting car-makers as potential customers.
According to Arvid Moss, Norsk Hydro’s Head of Energy and Corporate Development: “We expect battery production to grow rapidly as a solution to the world’s number one challenge, climate change.”
An interesting discussion now is: will these different operations, run by different organisations, in different provinces of Norway, ever come under one national coordinated group?
Reducing carbon footprints
Norway is no doubt attractive to these companies in terms of access to low-cost, clean electricity; its electricity grid is largely decarbonised due mostly to hydropower. What’s more, car-makers are all aiming towards various forms of ‘net-zero’ in the next two decades. That means investigating how ‘clean’ their supply chains are. To have an EV battery produced in the same country dramatically reduces its carbon footprint – contributing to a more circular economy. And in turn, helping reduce the total carbon footprint of battery production in Europe.
On that note, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that by 2030 more than 200,000 metric tonnes of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries will have to be recycled in the EU alone. And this number is expected to double by 2035.
Innovation at its core
Our investigations in southern Norway into three EU Critical Raw Materials means we are getting to know the country and its people well – at a local and national level. The fact that Norway is continuously pushing green boundaries and demonstrating why it deserves the accolade of sustainable pioneer is of little surprise to us. Innovation seems to run through Norwegians’ veins.