Swedish battery specialist Northvolt and Finnish paper and pulp giant Stora Enso have teamed up to develop sustainable batteries using lignin-based hard carbon produced from wood from Nordic forests.

The companies aim to create the world’s first industrial battery featuring anode sources entirely from European raw materials, lowering the carbon footprint and 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,” said Johanna Hagelberg, executive vice president for biomaterials at Stora Enso.

“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.”

Lignin is a plant-derived polymer found in the cell walls of dry-land plants. Trees are composed of 20–30% of lignin, where it acts as a natural and strong binder.

While Stora Enso will provide the lignin-based anode material from sustainably managed forests, Northvolt plans to 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,” Northvolt chief environmental officer Emma Nehrenheim said.

Stora Enso already has a pilot plant for bio-based carbon materials at its Sunila production site in Finland, where it has been producing lignin industrially since 2015. The plant has a current annual output capacity of 50,000 tonnes. The company is also carrying out a feasibility study to evaluate its first industrial production of Lignode at Sunila.