Freyr set for commercial cell production in Q2

Norwegian battery firm to finetune its production line automation after promising results

Freyr set for commercial cell production in Q2
Freyr is hopeful of bringing its 24M semi-solid battery cells to market in Q2

Norwegian battery maker Freyr says it expects to commercialise its cell manufacturing during the second quarter, after the firm reported encouraging progress with its automated test cell assembly line.

"During the quarter we are in, we expect to move from an aspiring battery company to a battery producing company with strong optionality and top-tier technology partnerships in the making," chairman Tom Einar Jensen told analysts on the company's Q1 results call.

Management says that the company is shifting to prioritise the production of cells at its Norway Customer Qualification Plant (CQP), which has previously focused on product tests and prototypes.

The firm, which is an early mover of a semi-solid battery platform that it calls its 24M technology, is now eyeing first deliveries of testable cells to Japanese electric motor manufacturer Nidec. The deliveries could then see Freyr batteries used in Nidec's automotive applications.

CEO Birger Steen says the company has successfully used its so-called 'multi-carrier system' of automated assembly tools to cast anodes and cathodes for cells, which he calls the "most novel process embedded in this machine". The company first hailed positive trial results from the project in February and now will need to finetune its automated assembly systems before it can produce batteries at commercial specifications, Steen says.

"The bit that is remaining now is the tuning of the multi-carrier system that ensures that the anodes from the top, the cathodes from the bottom and the separator meet in exactly the right place and with the right pressure," the CEO adds.

Despite progress towards bringing its battery cells to market, Freyr reported a $29mn loss for Q1, a sequential increase of 13.8pc and a 123pc increase over the same period of last year. CFO Oscar Brown, however, says this increase in losses reflects a number of non-recurring charges, and that the company is now over the hump in terms of capex commitments to its Norway CQP.

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While Freyr, as a midstream supplier, is eyeing automotive use cases for potential partnerships, the company says that it sees its biggest growth opportunity in the LFP energy storage market.

"The storage market continues to grow exponentially and is exhibiting the benefits and added momentum from established and emerging structural growth drivers such as renewables proliferation, electrification of everything, but also now AI and crypto on the horizon," Jensen says.

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