Vianode has developed a range of synthetic graphite products for batteries with unique performance characteristics and produced with significantly lower CO2 emissions than today's standard materials – supporting the ambitions of leading battery cell and automotive manufacturers. Today, an electric vehicle (EV) contains on average 40-70 kg of graphite, representing a vital component of the battery. Vianode’s products are developed based on specialized know-how in high-temperature processes, closed production systems, lower energy consumption and access to renewable energy.
Founded in 2021, Vianode currently has around 50 employees. The company builds on Elkem’s experience in advanced material solutions, its in-house research and development resources, as well as the strong performance of Vianode’s industrial pilot plant in Kristiansand, Norway. After this transaction, Hydro and Altor will each have 30% ownership in Vianode, while Elkem will retain the remaining 40% ownership.
“I would like to congratulate the parties on a very exciting industrial collaboration! The Norwegian Government has great ambitions for a green industrial boost where batteries are one of six focus areas. The purpose is to create new, green jobs, increase mainland investment, increase exports outside oil and gas and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These are the kind of projects and partnerships we want more of when we now will go through the biggest restructuring of the Norwegian economy ever,” says the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre.
An investment decision for a potential first-phase plant for Vianode is expected during the first half of 2022. This plant will have approximately 100 employees and produce graphite for more than 20,000 EVs per year. A potential full-scale plant will produce graphite for more than 1 million EVs per year and is expected to increase the number of employees in Vianode to around 300, enabling more than 1,000 green jobs including external effects.
The total investments in the first-phase plant and preparations for a potential full-scale plant are estimated at around NOK 2 billion. The plant development is pending clarifications related to framework conditions, including public support mechanisms and long-term access to competitive renewable energy and grid infrastructure.
“The market for battery materials is growing at an exponential rate and developing sustainable value chains is critical for the green transformation. Vianode aims to become a leading producer of sustainable battery materials, and this represents an attractive growth opportunity for Elkem. Hydro and Altor both add significant experience and expertise in developing large-scale industrial projects in the battery value chain. Through complementary skillsets, the partnership with Hydro and Altor will contribute to making Vianode a highly valuable contribution to the European battery value chain,” says Elkem CEO Helge Aasen.
“We are excited to partner up with Elkem and Altor to industrialize Vianode. We look forward to utilizing our industry scaling capabilities including project execution for large industrial projects, our material and process competence and experience as well as our track record from serving the car OEM segments for decades. Vianode is a good fit for our strategic direction of growing in renewable energy and new-energy solutions,” says Hilde Merete Aasheim, Hydro President & CEO.
“We are thrilled to partner with Elkem and Hydro on this very exciting opportunity. Vianode is perfectly positioned to shape the future of the automotive industry and will be an important contributor to the green transition and a carbon neutral future. We have experience from partnerships in other green transition projects where entire industries are being reshaped, and with Vianode we will build a new green EV supply chain in Europe. We are very impressed by the work Elkem has done with Vianode, and we think it will be a very exciting partnership with both Elkem and Hydro,” says Tom Jovik, Principal at Altor.
The transaction is subject to formal approval by all parties and regulatory approvals, including competition authorities.
About the partnership
Vianode, founded in 2021, is a producer of sustainable battery materials. The company is built upon technological advancements and experience developed over several years. Vianode’s range of synthetic graphite products offers unique performance characteristics and are produced with significantly lower CO2 emissions than today's standard materials – supporting the ambitions of leading battery cell and automotive manufacturers. An investment decision for a potential first-phase battery materials plant at Herøya, Norway, is expected in the first half of 2022. Vianode is backed by Elkem (40%), Hydro (30%) and Altor (30%). www.vianode.com
Elkem is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced material solutions shaping a better and more sustainable future. The company develops silicones, silicon products and carbon solutions by combining natural raw materials, renewable energy and human ingenuity. Elkem helps its customers create and improve essential innovations like electric mobility, digital communications, health and personal care as well as smarter and more sustainable cities. With a strong track record since 1904, its global team of more than 7,000 people has a joint commitment to stakeholders: Delivering your potential. In 2021, Elkem obtained a Platinum score from EcoVadis, which rated the company among the world's top 1% on sustainability transparency, and the company achieved an operating income of NOK 33.7 billion. Elkem is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (ticker: ELK). www.elkem.com
Hydro is a leading industrial company that builds businesses and partnerships for a more sustainable future. We develop industries that matter to people and society. Since 1905, Hydro has turned natural resources into valuable products for people and businesses, creating a safe and secure workplace for our 31,000 employees in more than 140 locations and 40 countries. Today, we own and operate various businesses and have investments with a base in sustainable industries. Hydro is through its businesses present in a broad range of market segments for aluminium, energy, metal recycling, renewables and batteries, offering a unique wealth of knowledge and competence. Hydro is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (ticker: NHY). www.hydro.com
Since its inception, the family of Altor funds has raised some EUR 8.3 billion in total commitments. The funds have invested in excess of EUR 5 billion in more than 75 companies. The investments have been made in medium-sized predominantly Nordic companies with the aim to create value through growth initiatives and operational improvements. Among current and past investments are H2 Green Steel, OX2 and Helly Hansen. For more information visit www.altor.com.