Agreement paves way for battery anodes made from bio-sourced lignin

Finnish forestry company Stora Enso and Swedish battery developer Northvolt have entered into a joint development agreement to create a sustainable battery, featuring an anode made using lignin-based hard carbon produced from Nordic forest wood. The aim is to develop the world’s first industrialized battery featuring an anode sourced entirely from European raw materials, lowering both the carbon footprint and the cost.

“The joint battery development with Northvolt marks a step on our journey to serve the fast-growing battery market with renewable anode materials made from trees. Our lignin-based hard carbon, Lignode by Stora Enso, will secure the strategic European supply of anode raw material, serving the sustainable battery needs for applications from mobility to stationary energy storage,” said Johanna Hagelberg, EVP for biomaterials at Stora Enso.

Stora Enso will provide its Lignode anode material, originating from sustainably managed forests, while Northvolt will drive cell design, production process development and scale-up of the technology.

“With this partnership, we are exploring a new source of sustainable raw material and expanding the European battery value chain while also developing a less expensive battery chemistry. It is an exciting demonstration of how our pursuit of a sustainable battery industry goes hand in hand with creating a positive impact both on society and cost,” added Emma Nehrenheim, chief environmental officer at Northvolt.

Lignin is a plant-derived polymer found in the cell walls of dry-land plants. Trees are composed of 20-30% lignin, which acts as a natural and strong binder. It is one of the biggest renewable sources of carbon anywhere.

Stora Enso’s pilot plant for bio-based carbon materials is located at the group’s Sunila production site in Finland, where lignin has been industrially produced since 2015. The annual lignin production capacity is 50,000 tons, making Stora Enso the largest kraft lignin producer in the world. The group is also evaluating its first industrial production of Lignode at the Sunila site via a feasibility study.

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Source: Engine + Powertrain Technology International