Northvolt signs deal for sustainable lignin carbon battery anodes

Northvolt signs deal for sustainable lignin carbon battery anodes

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Northvolt has signed a deal with Stora Enso to create sustainable batteries using lignin from Nordic forests.

The aim is to develop the world’s first industrialized battery using an anode sourced entirely from European raw materials, lowering both the carbon footprint and the cost. Graphite for battery anodes is increasingly in short supply globally and rising in price. Lignin, derived from cellulose from trees, can be used as the hard carbon anode in battery cells.

Trees are composed of 20–30% of lignin, where it acts as a natural and strong binder. It is one of the biggest renewable sources of carbon anywhere and already been demonstrated in supercapacitors.

Stora Enso’s pilot plant for bio-based carbon materials is located at the Group’s Sunila production site in Finland, where lignin has been industrially produced since 2015. The annual lignin production capacity is 50,000 tonnes, making Stora Enso the largest kraft lignin producer in the world. The Group is also evaluating its first industrial production of Lignode at the Sunila site through a feasibility study.

Northvolt, the leading indigenous European battery maker, has also been using recycled materials for battery cells.

Stora Enso will provide its lignin-based anode material Lignode, originating from sustainably managed forests, while Northvolt will drive cell design, production process development and scale-up of the technology.

“The joint battery development with Northvolt marks a step on our journey to serve the fast-growing battery market with renewable anode materials made from trees. Our lignin-based hard carbon, Lignode by Stora Enso, will secure the strategic European supply of anode raw material, serving the sustainable battery needs for applications from mobility to stationary energy storage,” says Johanna Hagelberg, Executive Vice President for Biomaterials at Stora Enso.

“With this partnership, we are exploring a new source of sustainable raw material and expanding the European battery value chain, while also developing a less expensive battery chemistry. It is an exciting demonstration of how our pursuit of a sustainable battery industry goes hand-in-hand with creating a positive impact both on society and cost,” says Emma Nehrenheim, Chief Environmental Officer at Northvolt.

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