Panasonic, Equinor, Norsk Hydro join forces to test feasibility of Norwegian battery factory plan

Japan’s Panasonic has teamed up with Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro and Norway’s state-owned oil major Equinor to look into developing a sustainable battery business in Norway.

The three organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to carry out a feasibility study, the companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday November 18.

According to the agreement, the companies will engage with potential automotive and non-automotive customers across Europe and will begin dialogue with Norway and the European authorities to put in place a competitive framework for the business.

Preliminary findings from this initial phase are expected by the middle of 2021.

The companies will also assess the potential for an integrated battery value chain in Europe.

The findings from this initial phase will form the basis for subsequent developments, they said.

“Our companies seek to be leaders in the energy transition. 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,” Equinor’s executive vice-president of global strategy & business Al Cook said.

Norsk Hydro’s executive vice-president of energy & corporate development, Avid Moss said: “We expect battery production to grow rapidly as a solution to the world’s number one challenge - climate change.”

And Panasonic executive vice-president, Mototsugu Sato, added: “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.”

The electrification of the economy is a pivotal element in Europe’s energy transition to net-zero emissions by 2050, with batteries expected to play a key role in the gradual switch to electric vehicles (EVs).

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