Skip to content

Norway’s maturing battery industry embraces green energy storage

After setting impressive EV battery records, Norway has turned its focus to an even larger market:

batteries for stationary energy storage - a market expected to reach EUR 57 billion by 2030.

Now, a more mature Norwegian battery industry has greater potential to accelerate the renewable energy transition in Europe.

Today Norway has not one, but two huge battery markets. “There are two market drivers for batteries: EVs and stationary energy storage. Energy storage is coming on strong now. It’s the key to turning intermittent wind and solar into a stable energy source,” explains Pål Runde, Head of Battery Norway.

An early adopter of electric transport, Norway continues to capture EV battery headlines. Electric cars now account for 79 per cent of new cars sold in Norway, and the MS Medstraum was recently launched as the world’s first electric fast ferry. In a global report on lithium-ion batteries, Norway ranked first in sustainability.

These are impressive records. Even so, stationary energy storage is beginning to steal the limelight.

“We are seeing a shift in focus from EV batteries to energy storage for other purposes. Most batteries being produced today will be used to store energy for wind farms, industrial activities and off-grid rural areas,” explains Nora Rosenberg Grobæk, former Head of Batteries at Invest in Norway, the official investment promotion agency of Norway.

Whether for EVs or energy storage, Norway has always had ideal conditions for battery growth: renewable energy in the form of hydropower, strong government financial incentives for EV purchases, and a well-established process industry to provide battery materials.

In addition, knowledge transfer from Norway’s offshore sector, especially in engineering, provides a level of competence not found in most other countries.

Our strategy is to avoid the use of rare earth metals.

Kristin Skofteland

CCO, Beyonder and Board Chair, Battery Norway

Maturing industry innovates cleaner batteries

and is developing alternative battery chemistries

A few years ago, Norway’s big three battery cell companies – Beyonder, FREYR Battery and Morrow Batteries – were only promising, high-tech blueprints.

“Now these large projects are mature. They are talking to potential clients. FREYR, Morrow and Beyonder are constructing plants in Norway, and Beyonder is ready to licence out its technology abroad,” says Rosenberg Grobæk.

Production will start up in two to three years. In the meantime, these companies are advancing technologically as well, such as developing alternative battery chemistries. All are on a quest to increase batteries’ sustainability while improving performance.

Beyonder, for instance, is developing cutting-edge solutions to complement its patented process to transform sustainable forestry residue into super-activated carbon for battery production.

“Our strategy is to avoid the use of rare earth metals, including lithium. We began by using sawdust and other biomass and have developed our technology from there. The core of our work is to explore how we can stop the need to mine battery materials,” says Kristin Skofteland, CCO of Beyonder and Board Chair of Battery Norway.

Two brand-new cell manufacturing projects have come on the scene as well, both employing next-generation battery technology. Elinor Batteries has signed an MoU with SINTEF Research Group to open a sustainable, giga-scale factory in mid-Norway, and HREINN will manufacture 2.5 to 5 million GWh batteries annually using lithium iron phosphate (LiFeP04) technology. Also a newcomer, Bryte Batteries produces and integrates flow battery systems for large-scale energy storage.

Circular battery ecosystem almost complete

“Norway has quite a long value chain – from minerals to materials, recycling and reuse.”

— Pål Runde, Head of Battery Norway

As Runde notes, the battery industry entails much more than cell production. “Norway has quite a long value chain – from minerals to materials, recycling and reuse,” he says.

He points to Vianode, which produces sustainable battery materials, while Pixii delivers scalable, modular energy storage solutions to speed up the green transition. The highly successful Batteriretur collects and recycles all types of batteries from around Norway.

An innovative example of circularity is Hydrovolt, an EV battery recycling joint venture between Hydro, a Norwegian aluminium company, and Northvolt, a Swedish battery manufacturer. Aluminium from the used batteries will be recycled and reused by Hydro, while the “black mass” containing lithium, manganese, nickel and cobalt will be reused in Northvolt’s battery production.

In addition, ECO STOR straddles both battery markets, as it repurposes first-life EV batteries and transforms them into second-life energy storage systems.

Stronger relations with European neighbours

In a shifting global battery landscape, Norway is increasingly integrating into the European battery ecosystem. This is an intentional move by all parties, as reaching global climate targets becomes more urgent for each passing year and geopolitical developments fuel action for European energy independence.

In keeping with this, the Norwegian government has published a national battery strategy, calling for formal collaboration with key countries. Bilaterally, Germany and Norway will soon enter into a strategic partnership on climate, renewable energy and green industry, including sustainable batteries.

Moreover, the EU and Norway will expand cooperation on batteries and critical raw materials, and the EU has invited Norwegian clean battery projects to seek funding from its new, high-profile Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI).

Across the pond, the US Inflation Reduction Act has shaken up the whole European ecosystem. “We have observed that some battery investments are shifting from Europe to the US due to tax credits and other financial incentives in the new US climate law. Norway and the EU are currently discussing our response to this,” explains Rosenberg Grobæk.

In the Nordic region, Finland, Norway and Sweden are combining their collective strengths in the battery value chain through the Nordic Battery Collaboration. As a battery region, the Nordics have become a notable actor in the broader European battery market. They have also joined forces on global projects, such as the export of energy storage systems to Egypt and Lebanon.

“The rest of the world understands that Norway is an important player in all things battery. Clean battery solutions are becoming more and more like a hardcore business, and we are seeing the power of working together,” concludes Rosenberg Grobæk