Wood-based rechargeable batteries, the innovation that comes from the North
An old Swedish paper mill to be converted into a cathode-ray factory
(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Batteries made with trees. This is happening in northern Europe where the Swedish producer Northvolt and the forestry company Stora Enso have signed a development agreement to unite their respective worlds in the name of sustainability. The partnership aims to industrialize the first rechargeable batteries made of wood from local forests. To be precise, the goal is to develop organic carbon anodes from lignin, the polymer of plant origin that is found in the cell walls of plants.
A path partly already opened by Stora Enso. In fact, the company has a pilot plant of organic carbon materials at its site in Sunila, Finland. Lignin has been produced industrially here since 2015, with an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes. The highest in the world. “The joint development of batteries with Northvolt marks a step in our journey to serve this rapidly growing market with renewable anodic materials derived from trees,” says Johanna Hagelberg, Executive Vice President for Biomaterials at Stora Enso. “Our lignin-based hard carbon, Lignode® , […] will ensure Europe’s strategic supply of electrode raw materials, meeting the needs for sustainable products for a range of applications, from mobility to stationary energy storage”.
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Where will the nine rechargeable wooden batteries be produced? Always in the North. In February this year Northvolt bought an old Swedish paper mill from Stora with the aim of turning it into a cathode-ray material factory by the end of 2024. For an annual production capacity of over 100 gigawatt hours.
“With this partnership, we are exploring a new source of sustainable raw material and expanding the battery value chain in Europe. And at the same time developing less expensive battery chemistry,” explains Emma Nehrenheim, Chief Environmental Officer at Northvolt. “It is an exciting demonstration of how our research […] goes hand in hand with creating a positive impact on both society and costs”.