Galp and the Swedes at Northvolt will jointly develop a lithium refinery in Portugal. The Aurora project, which the two companies presented in Lisbon this Tuesday, “could represent an estimated investment of €700 million and create 1,500 direct and indirect jobs,” building on similar projects, the energy company says.
The final investment decision has not yet been taken, as the two companies are currently conducting the necessary technical and economic studies, as well as analyzing several potential sites for the industrial unit, which could be in the north or south of the country.
However, Galp and Northvolt expect operations to begin by 2025, and commercial operations to begin in 2026. The joint venture will have a 50/50 stake, and aims to create “the largest and most sustainable lithium conversion plant in Europe”.
It will have an annual production capacity of 35,000 tons of lithium hydroxide, which will be able to equip 700,000 cars per year, or 50 gigawatt-hours of batteries.
Northvolt will ensure that up to 50% of the plant’s capacity is used for its batteries.
Project financing options, which are candidate for PRR funds, are being “explored” by the joint venture, “in the context of the energy transition, in order to further the development of the project.”
“The unit will use a proven conversion process, taking advantage of recent process and technology improvements to increase sustainability and efficiency. In addition, the joint venture aims to use green energy in the conversion process, thus reducing, or even avoiding, reliance on natural gas as with the conventional approach” , says Galb.
For Andy Brown, CEO of Energia, “This is a unique opportunity to reposition Europe as a leader in an industry that will be vital to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions, in line with European and Portuguese priorities on climate change.”
“The development of the European battery industry presents a tremendous economic and social opportunity for the region,” notes Paolo Cerruti, Northvolt Co-Founder and COO.
The joint venture with Galp “represents a significant investment in this field, and will put Europe in the path of not only the domestic supply of basic materials needed in battery manufacturing, but also with the opportunity to set a new sustainability standard in Europe for raw materials.”
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