Vasteras’s role in electrical technology started almost two centuries ago. Now the Swedish town – birthplace in 1833 of ASEA, a maker of lights and generators that became part of Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB – hopes to be part of a modern energy revolution. Northvolt, a start-up that plans to produce lithium ion batteries, on Friday announced it would build a €100m demonstration line and research facility in Vasteras. Peter Carlsson, Northvolt founder and chief executive, said the site was “the first step in our longer journey”: building a plant to produce 32 GWh of lithium ion battery capacity annually and rival the Asian giants that dominate the battery arms race. Northvolt is one of 80 stakeholders in the European Batte ry Alliance, an initiative launched last year by Maros Sefcovic, European Commission vice-president in charge of energy, to accelerate battery production in the EU. Officials see battery technology as a strategic requirement for Europe, which has not managed to create the array of digital technology giants that the US has, and whose early lead in production of solar panels has been overtaken by companies in China. Battery technology for vehicles is viewed as particularly important if one of Europe’s most important industries is to emerge from the shadow cast by the VW “dieselgate” scandal and remain at the heart of the region’s industrial base.
FT 30th April 2018 read more »