Company Visit: Northvolt

Sustainable living is an important issue for many Swedes, which is why a company like Northvolt coming out of Stockholm is not surprising. Northvolt is a high capacity battery company lead by CEO Peter Carlsson. Carlsson spent years as CPO of Tesla, and after his departure from the company, was able to use his knowledge of battery and power systems to solve a need in the energy market with Northvolt. Carlsson’s goal and the core belief of Northvolt is to lead the transformation away from fossil fuel dependency. His plan to accomplish this is creating battery factories that will manufacture large batteries to store energy generated by renewable sources, such as wind and solar. Northvolt’s official launch took place  in March 2017, and the new facility being built will create 3000 new jobs in Sweden, and three to four times that amount of support jobs outside of Northvolt.

For a company still in its infancy, Carlsson and team have been able to quickly build a name for themselves by building a story around the venture that illustrates their vision and its successes. They operate in three main major industry segments: Transportation, Energy Storage Solutions, and High End Energy both industrial and consumer. With car makers such as Volvo announcing their intentions to increase the number of electric vehicles in their fleet Northvolt is positioning itself to dominate the industry and do so with lower costs than its competitors.

There is a lot of room for growth here as well. A single Swedish gigafactory can produce a  total capacity of 35 gigawatt hours per year. With that max capacity, Europe will need at least 15 Giga Factories by 2025 to meet the demand of auto manufacturers. Add this to the needs in the renewable energy storage business, and its clear Northvolt has a lot of work to do.

One, perhaps, unexpected area of growth in the industry is electric underground mining equipment. Northvolt has been creating electric mining equipment which has been able to drastically reduce the costs of underground mining. At first glance it might seem obvious that the use of battery power over fossil fuels would be a cost savings, but when you consider the costs incurred by gas powered mining equipment and the need to also ventilate and pump out combustion engine emissions, the implications are stark. By converting to elective power several steps in the mining process are either reduced or completely eliminated.