Norway’s Freyr to build $2.6 billion battery factory in Newnan

Freyra listed company with Norwegian roots, is set to build a nearly $2.6 billion battery factory in Newnan to meet an anticipated spike in demand for energy storage systems in North America.

The company plans to spend $1.7 billion on the first phase of its so-called “Giga America” plant, with later expansions that could include solar parks with storage modules and materials processing, bringing the total to 2 .57 billion dollars.

The plant will initially focus on battery energy storage solutions, which are considered essential to the growth of wind and solar power in the United States, but executives say Freyr also receives constant requests. from electric vehicle manufacturers.

Freyr has committed to hiring 723 people in Coweta Countyas Georgia continues to score wins in the rising new energy and electric vehicle sector. Freyr’s announcement follows the hyundai Revolutionary electric vehicle and battery factory near Savannahas well as the success of SK-battery in Trade and a project Rivian installation for trucks and SUVs at Covington.

The company touted the state and Coweta County’s ‘strong incentives’ about the deal, without giving details in its press release. Speaking to a local audience at a launch event on Friday, the CEO of Freyr Tom Jensen said his most vital resource would be people. He has invited local companies to partner with Freyr as it enters the engineering phase of the plant.

“We are a partnership-based business,” Jensen said during a live stream of the event. “We believe in strong ties. We believe in local connections. We believe in empowering the local community and hiring the local community and contractors. It’s a good business decision, but it’s also something that will strengthen the core of what we do.

This mindset gives local leaders confidence that the project will be transformative for the community.

“They are a perfect example of cutting-edge technology, innovation and caring for their employees,” said John Davistonpresident of the Coweta County Industrial Development Authority.

After eliminating applicants from an initial pool of more than 150 locations, Freyr chose Coweta County from five finalist locations in the United States, waiting to announce the location until the law of reduction in inflation, the federal energy and health spending program under which he plans to qualify for production tax credits.

Tom Jensen addresses a crowd at a Coweta County announcement event which was also broadcast live.

Freyr will also apply for US Department of Energy funds, including grants or loans, possibly under the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which has already underwrites other battery-related projects in Georgia.

A 368-acre site at Newnan’s Bridgeport Industrial Park was purchased for the 34 gigawatt-hour plant. It’s a node in a broader global plan to build 200 gigawatt hours of capacity by 2030 as Freyr seeks to fulfill its mission to “accelerate the decarbonization of global energy transportation and storage systems.” energy “.

Freyr’s U.S. plans are to be realized through a $70 million joint venture with Koch Strategic Platformsin which the venture capital arm of the Koch conglomerate invested $50 million, with Freyr donating $20 million.

Listed on the New York Stock ExchangeFreyr is a young company founded in 2019 after the Swedish battery company Northvolt showed that building massive factories near Scandinavia’s clean energy sources could be commercially viable, Jensen said.

“As good Norwegians, we tend to think that if the Swedes can do it, then we can do it better,” he said.

The company tapped into Norway’s vast pool of expertise in the energy sector and recruited the world’s best minds in the battery sector; its staff now come from 30 countries.

Today, Freyr is technically domiciled in Luxemburg but with most of its intellectual capital based in Norway, where it built its first Giga Arctic factory in the northern city of Mo and Rana with strong government support.

A single test production line called Customer Qualification Plant will be put into operation just after Christmas this year. The refined processes there will be replicated on the eight production lines planned for Giga Arctic, which will serve as a model for the Georgia plant of similar size and design.

Freyr is yet to generate sales, posting only a paper gain of $4.7 million in the second quarter after a loss of more than $33 million in the first quarter of this year. But it’s well-funded, with $488 million in cash and a market cap of $1.6 billion after going public via a merger with a SPAC called Alussa Energy in 2021.

By 2028, with the construction of the two planned gigafactories, Freyr says it will generate $1.6 billion in free cash flow per year on $5.4 billion in revenue. See their investor deck here

Perhaps most importantly, Freyr has struck a series of deals with huge global corporations to secure financing, raw materials and eventual purchase orders that could lead to rapid growth when its battery factories go under. industrial scale will come online. Taiwan-based Hazardsfor example, plans to build a lithium-iron phosphate plant in the Nordic region, from which Freyr will purchase supplies and licensed technology.

Freyr’s operating premise is that conventional lithium-ion batteries and renewable energy technologies are not doing enough – or building fast enough – to solve the climate crisis.

In the field of vehicles, given the emissions from the (often) fossil fuel-based production processes for electric vehicle batteries, it may take years for new cars to achieve a net reduction in CO2 emissions per compared to internal combustion engines. Some critics argue that renewables and batteries simply move emissions “from the tailpipe to the chimney”, an idea Jensen alluded to when explaining the basis of Freyr’s technology:

“If the battery is charged with non-renewable energy and/or if you produce the battery with non-renewable energy, you’re just moving the emission point,” he said.

With respect to renewables themselves, a potential Achilles heel is that without sufficient storage, the intermittent nature of solar and wind power generation can waste energy and create supply mismatches. and demand.

Mr Jensen said to stay “largely on track” with climate commitments by 2030, including plans to electrify the transportation sector, the US and Europe must see a 34-fold increase. energy storage capacity.

“The opportunity is huge, and that’s why we wanted to come to the United States,” he said. “When the United States becomes aware of this energy transition, in which it is already well advanced, it will take off in a very material way.”

Back home, Freyr is using what he calls “Norway’s advantage” to offset potential shortfalls in renewables. Ironically, for an economy that has been fueled by oil and gas exports since the discovery of huge offshore deposits in the 1960s, almost all of the Scandinavian country’s energy is produced by clean, cheap hydroelectric power. market, and it continues to make huge investments in offshore wind. energy.

Freyr argues this positions the company to manufacture battery cells cleanly – and on a scale that makes them economically viable. She established a technology office in Bostonwhere the 24M semi-solid battery technology, its licensing and scaling has been developed in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mr Jensen noted that the Cut Inflation Act was so named because in addition to cleaning up the grid, it should make energy cheaper for everyone by using the “free raw materials” of wind and electricity. Sun.

He explained that Freyr is named after a Norse god representing prosperity, sunshine, peace, and virility.

“Here we are giving birth to our first gigafactory in the United States,” Mr. Jensen said to second rounds of applause and laughter during his speech.

The first came when he worked a Norwegian-tinged “y’all” into one of his opening sentences.

See more below:

FREYR has selected a site in Coweta County, Georgia, for the multi-phase Giga America clean battery manufacturing project of FREYR Battery on Vimeo.
A platform shows Freyr’s technology, raw material suppliers and potential customers.

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