Graphite: Potential large-scale Norwegian battery materials plant

Elkem has selected Herøya Industrial Park as the site for a potential large-scale plant for battery materials production in Norway. A new project, named Northern Recharge, aims to supply the fast-growing rechargeable battery industry through a competitive production process.

The company is already constructing a pilot plant for battery graphite in Kristiansand, Norway. The pilot, which represents an investment of NOK65M (US$7M), aims to finalise process routes and qualify products, and is expected to open in 2021.

Based on conclusions from the pilot plant, Elkem will evaluate the basis for competitive industrial production as part of its Northern Recharge project. On 1 July 2020, Elkem’s division set-up changed from four to three business divisions, as Silicon Materials and Foundry Products merged into Silicon Products.

Roskill view

The graphite industry has become increasingly focussed on the battery market, with growth opportunities for both synthetic and natural graphite. Battery demand for (raw material) graphite could grow by 20%py to 2030 using Roskill’s base-case for lithium-ion battery growth.

However, a big challenge for new European and US market entrants is that China dominates the entire lithium-ion battery to electric vehicle (EV) supply chain and accounts for 100% of spherical graphite refining, having invested early and heavily in the production of this material.

Ownership of this crucial purification step (around 80% of which is carried out using a chemical process based on the use of hydrofluoric acid) ensures that value-added production stays in China. There are a number of reasons for this, which are explained in detail in Roskill’s new graphite report.

Roskill’s NEW Natural & Synthetic Graphite: Outlook to 2030, 13th Edition report will be published soon and will include analysis of recent steel and refractory industry trends on supply, demand, trade and prices, as well as providing forecasts to 2030, profiles of the main producers, and an industry cost curve for spherical graphite. Click here to download the brochure and sample pages for the report, or to access further information.

Roskill’s Fluorspar: Outlook to 2029, 14th Edition report was published in February 2020. For more information or to subscribe, click here.

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This article was written by Kerry Satterthwaite. Please get in touch below if you wish to discuss further:

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