Why Europe's largest industrial establishment chose Skellefteå

Skellefteå in northern Sweden has been chosen for Europe's largest industrial establishment in modern times. 

In October, it was announced that Europe's largest battery factory will be established in Skellefteå, and that a laboratory factory will be set up in Västerås. Last week, Kristina Sundin Jonsson, chief executive of Skellefteå municipality, and Mattias Anderlind, head of business development and communications at Northvolt, presented the upcoming establishment and their vision for the future. Both agreed that one determining factor in choosing Skellefteå was the support and commitment shown throughout the region.

Kristina Sundin Jonsson explained that Skellefteå had not initially been asked, but that an employee of Skellefteå municipality had found out that other municipalities had received inquiries. That’s where the journey began – towards Europe's largest industrial establishment in modern times.

Green Batteries

Today, batteries are to a large extent manufactured in Asia, where the energy mainly comes from coal power. This means that they are not particularly environmentally friendly.

Mattias Anderlind, head of business development and communications at Northvolt, explained that today's batteries are not only bad for our environment, they are expensive too. Manufacturing in Skellefteå can change this.

"Northvolt's ambition is to become Europe's largest manufacturer of green batteries", said Anderlind.

The Future

As part of the plan, Northvolt will build a large production plant in Skellefteå, where they expect to employ more than 2,000 people. In Västerås, there will be an additional plant for the production of battery prototypes, with approximately 300 employees. However, part of the research unit will be based in Skellefteå.

So far, a total of 120 million Swedish kronor (Almost 12 million USD) has been secured, but the cost will amount to about 40 billion Swedish kronor. Investments will be taken in stages. The first phase of one billion is now under way, which means that the building works in Västerås will commence in 2018. The plan is for the first sod to be cut in Skellefteå by the end of that year. Batteries from the factory in Skellefteå are expected to be ready for the market in 2021.

A long list of requirements

Anderlind shared the requirements that were used in the selection process. The list was long, and the requirements difficult to meet.

Northvolt’s list of requirements:

Land: 200 hectares suitable for industry

Power: 300 MW of clean energy

Water: For process and cooling

Infrastructure: For transportation of raw materials and batteries

Communication: Roads, railroads and air

Competence: Engineers for development and optimization of automation and process

Industrial tradition and experience

Environmental assessment schedule: Minimal impact on environment and ecosystems

Commitment and support: From the public and decision makers


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