Galp and Northvolt join forces to invest €700 million in lithium conversion plant in Portugal

  • ECO News
  • 14 December 2021

The two companies said this Tuesday they’ll set up a joint venture, called 'Aurora', to develop a lithium conversion plant in Portugal. However, a final investment decision is yet to occur.

Portuguese Galp and Swedish Northvolt said this Tuesday they’ll set up a joint venture, called ‘Aurora’, to develop “Europe’s largest and most sustainable lithium conversion plant, to be located in Portugal, with an annual production capacity of up to 35,000 tons of lithium hydroxide.”

As part of the agreement, Northvolt guarantees to buy up to 50% of the plant’s capacity for use in its battery manufacturing. It recently signed an agreement with Volvo to build a battery gigafactory in Europe.

According to Galp and Northvolt, a final investment decision is yet to occur, but based on similar projects they estimate an investment of around €700 million to build the lithium conversion plant in Portugal and create around 1,500 direct and indirect jobs.

The start of commercial operations is planned for 2026, the two companies revealed.

“Extending the new European value chain upstream to include raw materials is of critical importance. This joint venture represents a major investment into this area, and will position Europe,” said Paolo Cerruti, co-founder and COO of Northvolt.

“To be successful in this drive, we must all work together, industry and decision makers, with a sense of urgency, because if we do not claim this role today, others will,” explained Andy Brown, CEO of Galp.

Although in the project that was submitted to the Industry mobilising agendas, under the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), Galp indicated the Sines Complex as the location for the new plant, the company continues to insist that the final location is not 100% defined, only saying that the future lithium conversion plant will be located in Portugal.

“The joint venture is currently conducting technical and economic studies and looking at several possible site locations” for the plant, they said in the statement.

In addition to this project, the joint venture will also explore other business opportunities along the lithium value chain, and “is committed to adopt the most environmentally sound approaches throughout all activities.”