Renault’s JV Ups its BEV Green Credentials

Renault’s latest joint venture in the BEV space is seeking to advance it’s green credentials by sourcing sustainable nickel for its future automotive batteries.

The French automaker has teamed up with Terrafame, a company operating one of the world’s largest production lines for EV battery chemicals in Finland. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the future supply of nickel sulphate representing up to 15GWh of its annual capacity. The cooperation will start focused on sustainability systems and defining metrics for traceability beyond solutions currently used for EV battery chemicals production.

Renault wants to be at the forefront of high performance, low-carbon and reusable batteries while building an electric ecosystem in Northern France known as Renault ElectriCity. Combined with the recent partnership with Vulcan to secure low-carbon lithium and the alliance with Veolia & Solvay to recycle battery materials in a closed loop, this new agreement is another step towards the reduction of the environmental footprint of EVs throughout their life cycle and towards the objective of carbon neutrality for the group in Europe by 2040.

Terrafame’s bioleaching-based production process (extraction of metals from their ores through the use of living organisms) claims to use about 90% less energy in the production of nickel sulphate than the industry average. In addition, its integrated production process begins and ends on one industrial site from a mine to battery chemicals production. These features are said to enable a fast-track to implement sustainability systems and create full transparency throughout the entire value chain.

Gianluca De Ficchy, Alliance executive vice-president, purchasing and managing director of Alliance Purchasing Organization at Renault Group, said: “Partnership with Terrafame is an important component in realizing our commitment to reach 30% emissions reduction for our supply chain by 2030. 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 sulphate produced by Terrafame is more than 60 % smaller than industry average.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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