Germany on the way to a circular hub – driving the electric vehicle revolution

Published On: October 16, 2021

There is one issue currently slowing productions for the entire automobile industry - chip shortages

Tesla’s new giga factory in Berlin-Brandenburg, Giga-Berlin, is nearing to begin production later this year, while starting to sell solar panel systems, and the Tesla Powerwall in Germany via Octopus Energy – available in all of Germany come 2022.

Clean Technica: By aggregating the solar generating capacity and the storage capacity of Tesla Energy Plan households, Tesla can create a virtual power plant, which it can market as a DER using its Autobidder software. The company has the real estate to create even more generation and storage assets—solar panels are likely to start appearing on the roof of the Berlin Gigafactory, and on carports at Supercharger sites. And what will these sites use for storage? Why, Tesla Powerpacks, of course. It’s surely no coincidence that Tesla’s retail utility offering is appearing first in Germany and Texas, the sites of the next two Gigafactories.

There is one issue currently slowing productions for the entire automobile industry – chip shortages, though for the time being Tesla has it under control. However, another issue is the lithium for the batteries – prices here also rise, the resource is in high demand.

Rock Tech Lithium

Canada’s Rock Tech Lithium announced the construction of a $544 million plant in Brandenburg, to make battery-grade lithium hydroxide for electric vehicles – 80 kilometers from Giga-Berlin. The plan of Rock Tech Lithium is to ship lithium from their mine in Canada, and in the next step to recycle old batteries.

Vulcan Energy

Vulcan Energy announced last month that they produced battery-quality lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) from the Zero Carbon Lithium Project pilot operations in the Upper Rhine Valley in Germany.

Electrive: Vulcan Energy – more precisely, its German subsidiary Vulkan Energie Ressourcen GmbH – wants to extract lithium in the Upper Rhine Graben. This will involve filtering lithium hydroxide from thermal water from geothermal plants. At the Insheim geothermal power plant, Vulcan Energy is working together with Pfalzwerke for this purpose. The first pilot plant of the zero-carbon lithium project is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2021. According to data from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) from the summer of 2020, the deep water in this region contains between 200 and 400 milligrams of lithium per litre – comparable levels to some salt lakes in South America.

Vulcan secures site for its planned commercial lithium hydroxide plant

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BASF

BASF, a German chemical company and the largest chemical producer in the world announced in June to build a battery recycling plant in Brandenburg.

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Key goals of the project include:

  • Use of innovative technology for extracting lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese from end-of-life lithium-ion batteries and production scrap
  • Ensure start-up success for future commercial plants to enable a circular economy for the battery value chain

BASF picks German state of Brandenburg as battery materials production site

Volkswagen

Meanwhile, VW is still in the process of ramping up their productions, though their sales are okay, but they feel the competition.

Highlights:

  • VW workers urge faster EV rollout at Wolfsburg Flagship
  • Trinity EV will come too late for factory to stay competitive with Tesla, workers say

Together with Northvolt, VW is constructing a battery factory in Salzgitter.

Microvast

The Texas company Microvast setup their Europe central near Berlin in Ludwigsfelde, where they also assemble battery modules.

Farasis

Farasis, a battery company from China setup a battery assembly plant in Bitterfeld Sachsen-Anhalt.

SVOLT

SVOLT a battery company from China setup a battery assembly plant in Überherrn.

Contemporary Amperex Technology

Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) a battery company from China setup a battery assembly plant in Erfurt.

Opel

Opel with PSA-Groupe, and Saft (Total), plan the construction of a battery plant in Kaiserslautern/Douvrin.

Related

Teaser image via Unsplash.
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About the Author: Chris Machens
Chris Machens
Chris covers the climate since around 2011, and when not posting articles to the site he works on our next video production.
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