GigaVaasa provides a carbon-neutral ecosystem for a battery cluster
What advantages will a battery manufacturing company gain when it locates itself in the GigaVaasa area? GigaVaasa is a large industrial zone where smart infrastructure is currently being built. The result will be an advanced ecosystem that perfectly serves the needs of the battery value chain industry. In fact, when designing GigaVaasa, the rule of thumb has been to deal battery manufacturers the winning cards. Those cards are sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
“The be all and end all is the overall carbon neutrality of the area. When a battery value chain manufacturer commits to establishing itself here, our industrial infrastructure automatically ensures a low carbon footprint for its operations. The raw materials are well placed logistically, which also makes production extremely cost-effective”, says Sales and Marketing Director Marko Kuokkanen of GigaVaasa.
The location of GigaVaasa is optimal for the battery value chain industry. Most of the mines for battery minerals are located in Finland and other Nordic countries, and the raw material refineries are even closer – in Kokkola and Harjavalta in Finland. The Nordic Battery Belt provides convenient sea routes for materials from Sweden to Finland, and the export of the finished products from Finland to the rest of the world. Of course, air and rail connections also serve the development of the battery cluster.
GigaVaasa will provide a production site for every step of the battery value chain: from the processing of the mined materials to the processing of precursors and cathode and anode materials, to the battery cells and the packaging of the entire battery. Each operator uses specific raw materials, and each operator’s process will result in leftover materials that, at best, could be the next operator’s raw materials.
“This is why we are looking for actors from different sectors. This will create a comprehensive value chain from which everyone benefits”, Kuokkanen says, outlining the vision.
Thanks to the advanced infrastructure, it has been made as easy as possible for different battery value chain factories to integrate into the area. The parties involved in organising the area have even promised that the infrastructure will make the battery manufacturers more competitive. But how? Kuokkanen gives an example that highlights the uniqueness of the area’s infrastructure: closed loop systems for cooling and heat recovery. The factories will produce a large amount of waste heat, which is why cooling water will be recycled throughout the area. The water will be used to cool all the factories, and the waste heat from the factories will be transferred to the city’s district heating network.
It is unique for the battery manufacturing industry to be able to capitalise on waste heat at this level
“The operators will even be compensated for the waste heat. At the same time, capturing waste heat from the GigaVaasa area will significantly help the city of Vaasa to reach its carbon neutral target. It is absolutely unique for the battery manufacturing industry to be able to capitalise on waste heat at this level”, Kuokkanen explains proudly.
Construction of GigaVaasa is already well underway, and the area will start to fill with production plants over the coming years. Several major battery value chain operators have already signed up for the industrial zone and are currently focusing on finalising their permit processes. There are also negotiations underway with many other players.
So, there are some very interesting answers to the question of what advantages a battery manufacturer will gain by locating itself at GigaVaasa. At GigaVaasa, a battery value chain manufacturer can produce their products in an environmentally friendly way, organise their logistics efficiently and benefit financially from the zone’s smart ecosystem. There is already a significant customer market for battery and energy storage solutions in the region. Kuokkanen is very optimistic about the future.
“Our overall approach has already convinced many operators. Here, environmentally friendly battery production is truly possible. The European Battery Passport, with its strong environmental credentials, is also attracting Asian manufacturers to the area. All that remains to be said is: Welcome!”