Norwegian aluminium smelter Norsk Hydro ASA announced a memorandum of understanding with technology firm Panasonic and international energy company Equinor to explore the possibility of collaborating on a sustainable and affordable business in batteries in Europe.
The trio agreed to investigate the possibility of building a battery operation in Norway through the upcoming summer. Any plant that comes to fruition as a result of the partnership will feature Panasonic technology and likely consist of products for the electric vehicle market.
In addition to batteries, the MOU says the companies will also examine the potential for an integrated battery value chain and for co-location of supply chain partners.
According to Panasonic’s VP Mototsugu Sato, the partnership may well be what kicks off a new energy/battery sector on the continent.
“This collaboration combines Panasonic’s position as an innovative technology company and leader in lithium-ion batteries, with the deep industrial experience of Equinor and Hydro, both strong global players, to potentially pave the way for a robust and sustainable battery business in Norway. Panasonic has powered the last two revolutions in the automotive industry – first by powering hybrids and now, by powering multiple generations of all electric vehicles. We are pleased to enter into this initiative to explore implementing sustainable, highly advanced technology and supply chains to deliver on the exacting needs of lithium-ion battery customers and support the renewable energy sector in the European region.”
“Our companies seek to be leaders in the energy transition,” added Al Cook, Equinor’s Executive Vice President of Global Strategy & Business Development. “The creation of this world-class battery partnership demonstrates Equinor’s ambition to become a broad energy company. We believe that battery storage will play an increasingly important role in bringing energy systems to net zero emissions. By pooling our different areas of energy expertise, our companies will seek to create a battery business that is profitable, scalable and sustainable.”
For Arvid Moss, Hydro’s Executive Vice President of Energy and Corporate Development, the partnership is likely to play a part in the solution to a serious global concern.
“We expect battery production to grow rapidly as a solution to the world’s number one challenge, climate change. We have already seen in recent years that Hydro’s unique combination of capabilities from renewable energy and processing industries provide a strong foundation for partnerships for exploring growth opportunities in the battery industry.”
“We believe the combined strengths of Panasonic, Equinor and Hydro represent an attractive starting point for exploring the possibilities for a profitable and sustainable battery business in Norway, where we have a strong foothold, renewable power base and close proximity to the European market,” he concluded.
Norsk Hydro, which was founded in 1905, financed by the Swedish Wallenberg family and French banks, began its life named Norsk hydro-elektrisk Kvælstofaktieselskab (literally, “Norwegian hydro-electric nitrogen limited”) by Sam Eyde. The Norwegian government owns approximately 40% of the company at the present time. Norsk Hydro is one of the largest aluminium companies in the world, with plants in Rjukan, Raufoss, Vennesla, Karmøy, Høyanger, Årdal, Sunndalsøra, and Holmestrand. Norsk also has several plants abroad, including in Germany and Brazil.