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Finland's Terrafame to supply Renault with sustainable nickel sulfate

Highlights

Enough supply for 15 GWh/year of capacity

Terrafame bioleaching-based process uses 90% less energy than industry average

Partnership to help Renault reach 30% emissions reduction in supply chain by 2030

Finnish state-owned electric vehicle battery chemical producer Terrafame has agreed to supply automaker Renault Group with low-carbon, fully traceable nickel sulfate for EV batteries, the companies said Oct. 8.

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The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding which secures a significant annual supply of nickel sulfate, representing up to 15 GWh of annual capacity, they said in a statement.

When asked for additional supply details, a Terrafame spokesperson told S&P Global Platts that the MoU was for the cooperation between the two parties and the next step would finalize the open items in the cooperation, with start up timing to be announced at a later date.

The partnership will pay particular attention to sustainability systems and defining detailed metrics for traceability beyond solutions currently used for EV battery chemicals production.

Renault is aiming to become carbon neutral in Europe by 2040 and is spearheading the deployment of higher performing, low-carbon and reusable batteries while building an electric ecosystem in Northern France to build 400,000 EV per year by 2025, called Renault ElectriCity.

Terrafame CEO Joni Lukkaroinen said Renault's ambition to clean and sustainable transport set proper guidelines for the coming decade and could well mean a commitment of supplying nickel sulfate for up to 300,000 EVs per year.

The Terrafame partnership was an important component in realizing Renault's commitment to reach 30% emissions reduction in its supply chain by 2030, Gianluca De Ficchy, Alliance EVP, Purchasing and Managing Director of Alliance Purchasing Organization at Renault Group said.

"Low carbon footprint and traceability of battery chemicals are crucial factors to us, and Terrafame has a clear edge on sustainability through its unique production method. The carbon footprint of nickel sulfate produced by Terrafame is more than 60% smaller than the industry average," De Ficchy said.

Terrafame's bioleaching-based production process uses about 90% less energy in the production of nickel sulfate than the industry average and its integrated production process begins and ends on one industrial site from a mine to battery chemicals production, enabling energy efficiency sustainability and transparency throughout the entire value chain.

The companies said they aimed to "introduce a set of binding agreements involving other actors in the EV battery value chain to take part in this development step".

The Terrafame agreement adds to the partnership Renault has already announced with Vulcan to secure low-carbon lithium, and the alliance with Veolia and Solvay to recycle battery materials in a closed loop.

The automaker also has a partnership with Envision AESC and Verkor to develop batteries and build gigafactories in France improve the efficiency of its EV production chain.