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French gigafactory firm Verkor and Nidec in 10GWh BESS partnership

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Verkor, a company building a lithium-ion gigafactory in France, and system integrator Nidec ASI will together produce up to 10GWh of battery energy storage systems (BESS) to 2030.

Under the non-binding agreement, Verkor will develop, manufacture and supply battery cells and modules, while Nidec ASI will develop the battery management systems and integrate these modules into packs, racks and containers.

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Nidec ASI will then distribute the finished product to “specialised stationary energy storage players” with qualification and testing having already started as a part of the collaboration.

In the first year, Verkor will provide 450MWh of cells and modules, and expects this to increase to 3GWh by the end of the agreement, all from its gigafactory in Dunkirk.

The facility is targeting a start of production with 16GWh of annual production in 2025, increasing to 50GWh by 2030, so this deal represents a relatively small slice of its capacity. A large part of its offtake will go to to French automotive group Renault.

Although Verkor’s announcement just referred to Nidec, Nidec ASI is the power solutions arm of the Japanese conglomerate Nidec Corporation, and provides BESS. It was formed when Nidec acquired Italian firm Ansaldo Sistemi Industriali (ASI) in 2012.

Benoit Lemaignan, co-founder and CEO of Verkor, said: “We are pleased to kick off this collaboration that unite two key players in the energy ecosystem to provide new, highly innovative and sustainable solutions to BESS clients.”

Dominique Llonch, CEO of Nidec Industrial Solutions added: “Partnering with Verkor will strengthen Nidec’s strategic position in the battery energy storage systems market, being able to efficiently support customers through a wider choice of customised solutions for different use cases and needs due to the variety of batteries introduced.”

Nidec was in IHS Markit’s top 10 BESS integrators in 2021 by activity and is among the largest with its manufacturing and assembly facilities in Europe.

Last year, Nidec ASI announced a large BESS deployment order in Italy totalling 5.4GWh for an unnamed customer, started deploying a 40MW project in Sweden in January this year and secured a 40MW/120MWh order from a mine in South Africa in June. It has system integration assembly facilities in Germany and Italy.

Verkor is backed by numerous investors including French bank Société Générale, German industrial company Siemens and the European Investment Bank.

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