Siemens and ABB back sustainable battery startup

25 May 2022

sustainable battery cells

Norwegian startup Morrow Batteries wants to produce the world’s most sustainable battery cells destined for electric vehicles (EVs) and grid suppliers. Now the young company has come one step closer to realising its goals, with ABB and Siemens Financial Services leading a €100 million fundraising round for the startup.

The investment will finance the company’s factory in Norway. This will be able to produce more than 1GWh worth of battery cells each year. The startup’s pilot factory will be the first battery-cell production facility in Norway, with the company aiming to produce its first sustainable batteries by 2023. The site will use 100% renewable hydroelectric power to develop batteries with the lowest possible CO2 footprint.

Founded in 2020, the startup is also building an industrialisation centre to ensure quality of battery cells for the European automotive industry. These efforts are part of wider plans to create a ‘battery coast’ in Norway and improve the value chain for sustainable batteries.

With ABB and Siemens backing Morrow Batteries, the company will be able to strengthen its relationship with suppliers and customers. Other investors include Nysnø Climate Investments and green-tech company Arendals Fossekompani. Current shareholders, the Danish pension fund PKA, NOAH AS, and a leading producer of renewable hydroelectric power, Agder Energi, were also part of the funding round.

Sustainable batteries

‘With our development programme of more sustainable batteries, and the steep increase in global demand for batteries, we are perfectly positioned to deliver profitable and sustainable jobs that we need to make the Norwegian, European, and global economy greener,’ said Terje Andersen, CEO at Morrow Batteries.

COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have highlighted Europe’s need to establish resilient supply chains as the region races to tackle bottlenecks. Investments in local battery makers are a key strategy on the road to greater autonomy, especially as Europe deals with declining supplies from Russia.

In the automotive industry, sustainable batteries are highly sought after as companies across Europe are on their way to decarbonise operations. ABB and Siemens are no exception.

Swedish-Swiss tech company ABB is heavily focused on electromobility, last year announcing plans to float its e-mobility charging business. The spin-off could help ABB take advantage of the growing demand for EVs, with its e-mobility unit providing fast chargers for electric cars and buses.

‘We are very excited to invest in Morrow and look forward to partnering with them on their journey to becoming a leading global supplier of sustainable batteries,’ said Edgar Keller, president of ABB’s traction division. ‘Once available, these batteries will become a key component in the production of our energy-efficient portfolio, which strives to make sustainable transport a reality.’

With international industrial heavyweights such as ABB and Siemens on board, Morrow Batteries is hoping to fulfil its target of becoming the world’s greenest battery producer with a negative carbon footprint.

One of Morrow’s main competitors includes Swedish battery startup Northvolt. Siemens partnered with the Volkswagen-backed company in 2018 and poured €10 million into the startup, also choosing Northvolt as a supplier for lithium-ion batteries once these become available. Bringing cost-effective and sustainable battery cells to the market is one of Siemens’ main agenda points.