Northvolt and Galp have chosen the Portuguese city of Setubal – not far from Lisbon – to build their Aurora lithium conversion plant. We know Northvolt as a European supplier of sustainable, high-quality battery cells and systems (here’s one of the latest news about the project of their third European gigafactory in Germany). On the other hand, Portuguese company Galp is an energy player working on several fields, from electricity produced from renewable sources to natural gas and liquid fuels.
Back to the shared project, the scheduled plant aims to become a steppingstone for the development of an integrated lithium-battery value-chain in Europe. It is set to have an initial annual production capacity between 28,000 and 35,000 tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide – a critical material required by the lithium-ion battery manufacturing industry, which is expected to grow significantly by 2030.
Lithium conversion plant by Northvolt and Galp: further details
The selected site, in Sapec Bay Industrial Park, has good access to infrastructure, railway, port facilities and is ideally located for reagents and by-products. The start of operations is forecasted to happen by year-end 2025 and the start of commercial operations in 2026. It is expected that some €700 million will be invested into the project, which will create around 200 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs. Additionally, the JV is seeking to enable the use of green energy to power the conversion process, thereby minimizing reliance on the conventional natural-gas powered approach.
«This is the type of project Portugal and Europe should develop for economic growth and to build a sustainable energy future», said Galp CEO Andy Brown. «Securing sustainably produced materials for the exponentially growing battery industry is a strategic priority for Europe. We thank the Setúbal municipality for welcoming us and we look forward to our partnership creating jobs and economic value».
Lithium hydroxide sufficient for 50 GWh of battery production per year
«The establishment in Setúbal marks a key milestone for Europe on the road towards building up a full battery ecosystem on the continent, as well as demonstrating a sustainable approach to the lithium conversion process», added Paolo Cerruti, Co-Founder and COO of Northvolt. The plant will be able to deliver lithium hydroxide sufficient for 50 GWh of battery production per year (sufficient for more than 700,000 electric vehicles). As part of the JV agreement, Northvolt will secure an offtake for up to 50% of the plant’s capacity for use in its battery manufacturing.