Fluence and Northvolt to develop grid-scale battery storage technology together

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Fluence launched its 6th generation of energy storage systems solutions during 2020 including Edgestack, the company’s first product suite aimed at the commercial and industrial (C&I) market. Image: Fluence.

Energy storage technology provider Fluence and battery gigafactory startup Northvolt will collaborate to develop “next-generation battery technology for grid-scale storage applications,” the companies said today.

The co-development of grid storage technology will draw on Fluence’s long-standing experience in the sector. Fluence was officially launched by parent companies AES Corporation and Siemens in 2018 but had already been in the space for close to a decade as AES Energy Storage and additionally drew on Siemens’ Siestorage ESS business expertise. It has since gone on to become one of the leading players in the energy storage system integration and technology space, with more than 5.6GW of storage and optimised bidding assets across nearly 30 markets in operation or under contract. A recent investment from the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund valued Fluence at over a billion dollars

The partnership will see the pair develop Northvolt battery hardware as well as battery management systems (BMS) optimised for Fluence’s energy storage solutions. The intention is to lower the cost of ownership of ESS solutions and offer systems tailor-made for Fluence’s customers, using digital intelligence integrated into the full battery lifecycle.

“Grid-scale energy storage will play a crucial role in transforming the way we power our world, and we are excited to join forces with a true innovator like Northvolt to deliver technology with significant societal and environmental benefits,” Fluence CEO Manuel Perez Dubuc said.

“This integrated approach to optimise battery technology for Fluence product offerings is intended to make our systems greener, more cost-effective and more impactful, and to help us meet growing demand for sustainable energy storage solutions around the world.”

In a joint press release this morning the two companies said that as part of the agreement Fluence will also buy batteries produced by Northvolt, which aims to produce 150GWh of cells annually by 2030. The deal could help Fluence from avoiding a potential pitfall for its rivals in the stationary energy storage system (ESS) industry, namely that electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are being prioritised as customers by battery cell manufacturers, leaving a shortfall of supply for ESS applications.

Northvolt has also said that it intends to have the most sustainably produced batteries of any manufacturer, which could help its ESS partner meet growing requirements such as the EU’s new regulation on batteries which include carbon footprint and recycled content as well as supply chain transparency.

While Northvolt primarily intends to serve growing demand for batteries in the electric mobility sector, including a US$14 billion supply deal with investor Volkswagen, the Sweden-headquartered company recently told Energy-Storage.news that roughly 20% of cell volumes will be committed to its own Northvolt Systems subsidiary which will be making energy storage systems for grid applications.

“In order to reach the Paris Agreement, the world needs to make significant investments in building truly sustainable energy grids. And battery systems will play a crucial part in that process. With their technology and reach, Fluence is the perfect partner to help put these solutions in the hands of a large number of customers, and thereby drive the change on the scale that we need,” Northvolt CEO and co-founder Peter Carlsson said.

Northvolt’s first gigafactory, Northvolt Ett, is currently under construction in Sweden. Image: Northvolt.

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