In order to develop wood-based batteries, Stora Enso and the Swedish battery producer Northvolt have formed a cooperative development agreement. Reportedly, the batteries will have an anode made from renewable raw materials obtained from Nordic forests. To create the sustainable batteries, the partners intend to use hard carbon derived from lignin present in the forests.
A polymer called lignin is produced in the cell walls of dry-land plants. It can act as a strong, all-natural binder. Stora Enso will contribute its lignin-based anode material Lignode as part of the partnership, while Northvolt will be responsible for the cell design, technology, and manufacturing procedures. Since 2015, lignin has been produced at Stora Enso’s Sunila production facility in Finland. The company can presently produce 50,000t of lignin annually.
In March 2022, Northvolt announced plans to build a gigafactory in northern Germany with a 60 GWh annual manufacturing capacity. The manufacturing unit is expected to come up in Heide, Schleswig-Holstein and this factory would produce lithium-ion batteries for the European market. The manufacturing facility is expected to begin operations in 2025, resulting in the creation of 3,000 jobs in the area.