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BASF to produce vehicle batteries materials in Harjavalta

23 Oct 2018, 03:57 ( 23 Oct, 2018) | updated: 23 Oct 2018, 03:59 ( 23 Oct, 2018)

DF-Xinhua Report
Globally, BASF is conducting research on innovative cathode materials that make electromobility a reality. BASF’s innovations for high-performance lithium-ion batteries will help double the real range of a mid-size car from 300 to 600 km by 2025 and significantly reduce the charging time of electric vehicles. Photo Source: BASF.

BASF AG will launch a new venture to produce raw materials for electric vehicle batteries in the Finnish town of Harjavalta, the German chemicals giant announced on Monday.

"BASF has chosen Harjavalta, Finland as a first location to manufacture battery materials for the European automotive market. The plant will be built in direct proximity to the nickel and cobalt refinery of Norilsk Nickel", a statement published by BASF on the website of the Ludwigshafen-based company read.

The project in Harjavalta forms part of a multi-stage investment plan worth over 400 million euros which was announced by BASF last year. The chemicals manufacturer already began producing battery materials in the town in western Finland on smaller scale earlier this year and now plans to expand its local activities to equip around 300,000 electric vehicles per year with resources sourced at the site from 2020 onwards.

BASF noted that the new plant would use locally-produced renewable energy, generated by wind, water and biomass, to power its operations.

BASF and the Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), have signed a long-term agreement for nickel and cobalt to be delivered from a nearby Nornickel metal refinery to the battery material factory which will be built in Harjavalta.

According to BASF, the cooperation between the two companies is intended to ensure a "reliable supply" of locally-sourced resources for battery production in Europe.

"With the investment in Harjavalta, BASF will be present in all important regions with a local production and even closer to its customers. This will offer further support to the fast-growing market for electric vehicles", Kenneth Lane, director of the BASF Catalysts Division said.

"The investment, together with the strategic cooperation with Nornickel, will create a strong platform which combines the engagement of the two leading companies in the areas of resource supply, and battery materials research and -production", Lane added.

The European Commission has recently set a publicly-declared goal for automotive companies in the European Union (EU) to develop an independent value chain for electric vehicles to prevent them from falling behind foreign competition. Alongside Harjavalta, BASF is in the process of assessing several potential production sites in Europe to boost its own capabilities in the electric automotive sector.

Orders from automotive supplier companies account for single largest share of BASF revenue. Amongst others, the company delivers engine oil additives, cooling liquids and synthetics with a total sales value of around 11 billion euros to the customer category. 

BASF is the world's largest chemicals manufacturer by revenue, recording global sales worth 64.5 billion euros in 2017. The DAX-listed company employs a total of 115,000 staff across the world.