Stora Enso and Northvolt are the enterprises making the "wood batteries" a reality. Maybe the phrase "wood batteries" is something scientists and engineers might frown about. Still, wood is a cheaper and much more available raw material than other rechargeable battery components. Environmental and deforestation issues aside, this technology's development aims to produce sustainable batteries using lignin-based hard carbon. The Swedish partnership would thus deliver the world's first industrialized battery featuring anode sourced entirely from European raw materials, lowering the carbon footprint and the cost.
Stora Enso's own Lignode - lignin-based hard carbon – should cut off supply-chain bottlenecks, one of the industry's significant drawbacks. With growing demand from the automotive electrification trend, the battery-making sector is under constant pressure to find cheaper sources and more efficient materials for the power cells.
From a biochemical standpoint, lignin, a polymer extracted from the cell walls of dry-land plants, makes up to 30% of a tree, where it acts as a natural and robust binder. It is one of the biggest renewable sources of carbon anywhere. Stora Enso is the largest kraft lignin producer in the world, with an annual production capacity of 50,000 tonnes (see the video for more details about wood-based batteries.)
As one of nine worldwide Tier 1 companies in the EV battery industry, Northvolt – who recently raised $1.1 billion to support factory rollout plans in Europe – will oversee design, production, and technology scale-up. Stora Enso will provide its lignin-based anode material Lignode, originating from sustainably managed forests (the company is one of the world's largest private forest owners). The latter is one of the oldest forestry-based active enterprises in the world, with documented operations dating back to 1288.