New battery materials producer Ionway to build first plant in Poland

PowerCo- and Umicore-backed joint venture Ionway scales up EU footprint in the e-mobility business.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 10 Oct 2023 Views icon3647 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
New battery materials producer Ionway to build first plant in Poland

The newly-founded Brussels-based European EV battery materials producer Ionway has chosen to build its first CAM production plant in Nysa, Poland, adjacent to Umicore’s existing CAM plant.

The JV, backed by Volkswagen Group-owned PowerCo SE and Umicore, is scaling up the EU footprint in the e-mobility business with the ambition to grow its annual production capacity to 160 GWh p.a. by the end of the decade, corresponding to 2.2 million battery-electric vehicles, based on market developments.

“We are excited by today’s announcement, as it marks the operational first step of Ionway and an important step in the expansion of Umicore’s European local-for-local integrated battery materials value chain,” said Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore.

Jörg Teichmann, Chief Purchasing Officer of PowerCo, commented: “Ionway gives both PowerCo and Umicore a significant first-mover advantage in the fast-growing e-mobility market in Europe. PowerCo has now co-created what it was looking for: a battery materials supplier to secure and build-up manufacturing capacity for reliable and cost-competitive precursor and cathode material production based on responsibly sourced raw materials.”

The Polish government strongly supports the investment in Nysa ‒ which is expected to create around 900 future-proof industry jobs in Nysa towards the end of the decade ‒ and is offering Ionway 350 million euros in cash grants under the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework for a total investment of up to 1.7 billion euros (€1.35 billion after grants) by the end of the decade. The TCTF fosters support measures in sectors which are key for the transition to a net-zero economy in line with the Green Deal Industrial Plan.

Preparation of the site, engineering, and permitting are ongoing and construction will start as soon as possible once the permitting process is completed. Production of the plant is expected to begin as soon as construction is completed, while PowerCo’s CAM demand for the Salzgitter cell gigafactory is secured from the existing production capacity of Umicore in Nysa in time for its start of production in 2025.

Ionway’s choice for Nysa and Poland is based on their strategic location with access to renewable energy sources to power the plant’s production, as well as a skilled workforce, and follows the support from the Polish government. Moreover, the production facility will benefit from Umicore’s nearby CAM know-how in Nysa and easy access to raw materials from Umicore’s refining operations in Finland.

Ionway will produce tailored high-performance CAM as well as the related precursor materials (pCAM), and supply it to PowerCo’s European battery cell gigafactories. The site selection for Ionway’s pCAM plant is ongoing and will be announced at a later date.

As the key technological levers for the performance of rechargeable batteries, pCAM and CAM are essential to a successful powertrain transition towards e-mobility, with ultra-pure CAM being the battery’s most critical and therefore valuable component.

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