Lithium Gigafactory to complete battery ecosystem in Germany
With the construction of a factory for battery raw materials, the ecosystem around electric cars gets another branch. Rock Tech Lithium wants to invest about €470 million; the planned production facility would then be one of the largest in Europe – it is supposed to cover the demand for 500,000 electric cars per year. Production is scheduled to start in 2024.
Because of the high demand, Rock Tech Lithium is planning four more factories in Europe; a new one is to be added every year, said company boss Dirk Habecke. With its planned production facilities, Habecke wants to serve primarily vehicle manufacturers in Germany and Europe.
So far, the production and processing of the raw material for EV batteries has taken place almost exclusively in China. In addition to Tesla’s Gigafactory, where battery cells will also be produced, the chemical giant BASF will soon open a cathode factory in the region. The cathodes are also central elements of traction batteries for electric cars.
The investment decision for all production steps still depends on talks about subsidies already applied for or further subsidies, it said. Basic materials for lithium-ion batteries are a key to the success of electromobility, said Jörg Steinbach, Minister of Economics of the Federal State of Brandenburg. In the future, this state would be home to the entire value chain from raw material processing to battery and cell production to e-car construction and battery recycling, Steinbach rejoiced.
Meanwhile, the daily Handelsblatt quoted from a recent analysis by the Boston Consulting Group. According to this, the amount of battery raw materials mined annually is currently less than one third of what will be needed to cover the demand for electric batteries in 2030. The situation is particularly critical for the most important raw material for battery production: lithium. Here, experts see a high risk that demand will significantly exceed production capacities in just four years. This is probably the most important reason why the recycling of worn-out vehicle batteries will gain significantly in importance in the future.
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