Strategic partnership formed for Europe’s first lithium iron phosphate cell gigafactory

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How the production plant in Subotica, Serbia, could look. Image: ElevenES.

A gigawatt-scale factory producing lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries for the transport and stationary energy storage sectors could be built in Serbia, the first of its kind in Europe. 

ElevenEs, a startup spun out of aluminium processing company Al Pack Group, has developed its own LFP battery production process. It is targeting an annual production capacity of 300MWh by 2023, and plans to ramp that up with the opening of an 8GWh facility powered by renewable energy in Subotica, Serbia. 

Strategically located near to the Jadar Valley, which is thought to be Europe’s largest lithium deposit, ElevenEs intends to hire up to 2,000 staff for the factory. The company has formed a strategic partnership with EIT InnoEnergy, which is an investment vehicle supported by the European Union.

EIT InnoEnergy is leading the European Battery Alliance, which seeks to foster the development of a domestic lithium-ion battery value chain ecosystem. The group has already invested in the likes of Northvolt, which is targeting 150GWh of manufacturing capacity by 2030, with its first gigafactory already under construction in Sweden and Verkor, which is looking to build gigafactories in Southern Europe starting with a 16GWh factory in France.  

EIT InnoEnergy announced the formation of the partnership today, including its investment backing and support for ElevenEs. 

“LFP batteries are the next big thing on the battery landscape,” EIT InnoEnergy Central Europe CEO Jakub Miller said.

“Although nickel-based batteries outperform LFP on energy density and are likely to remain the best option for performance cars, LFP is far better in terms of cost, safety and lifetime, making it a perfect choice for industrial, ESS and city EV (shorter range) applications.”

ElevenEs founder and CEO Nemanja Mikać pointed out that LFP cells are the most popular choice in China, the world’s leader in battery technology, and cost significantly less than chemistries like nickel manganese cobalt (NMC). Mikać also claimed LFP cells last longer, as well as posing less potential fire safety risks than “competing chemistries”. 

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