Battery cell start-up Northvolt said it will build Europe’s largest factory for energy storage systems in Gdansk, Poland, by next year.

The $200m plant is an expansion to already existing battery system facilities the Swedish company has in the region. It will have an initial annual output of 5GWh, and a potential future capacity of 12GWh, as well as an engineering research and development centre.

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"Securing battery cell manufacturing capacity in Europe is key for its industrial future, but what is equally critical is the industrial capacity for integrating cells into real-world solutions," said Peter Carlsson, Co-Founder and chief executive of Northvolt.

"It is this that the new factory will deliver — sophisticated, sustainable energy storage systems to support the transformation of Europe’s electricity grid and its industry."

Li-ion cells from Sweden

The Gdansk factory will be fed by lithium-ion battery cells from the company’s Northvolt Ett gigafactory in Skellefteå, Sweden, as a raw material and then produce battery modules and larger battery systems. Those are stationary grid energy storage systems for the most part, and additionally industrial energy storage systems, a Northvolt press official explained to Recharge.

The company had opened a first battery energy storage system at an electric vehicle charging station in Västerås, Sweden, in November last year.

Construction of the factory is slated to start in the autumn, with production expected to begin in 2022. The new factory and the R&D centre will create 500 new jobs in the Gdansk region.

Northvolt currently is building its first gigafactory – Northvolt Ett – in Skellefteå in Sweden, which will have a potential annual battery cell output of 40GWh, and is scheduled for a start of production this year. The company is also in the permitting process for Northvolt Zwei, a joint venture with carmaker Volkswagen that is slated to come on line in 2024 in Salzgitter, Germany, with a potential battery cell output of more than 20GWh.

Northvolt’s ambitions are backed by several large car makers and renewable energy companies, such as BMW, Volkswagen, Vestas and Vattenfall, as well as a state guarantee by Germany.

European car manufacturers and governments are keen to secure a European supply of batteries to rid themselves of their dependency on Asian producers, while grid energy storage is also becoming increasingly important amid rising percentages of volatiles renewable power in European energy grids.