Formed from the merger of three startups, the company is setting up the 42 acre R&D campus at Twente Airport in Holland. “Over the next five years, we will recruit some 2,000 people to develop clean energy technologies at the campus,” said Kees Koolen, chairman of the board.
Through the merger of Super B Lithium Power in Hengelo, Valence Technology and the industrial branch of A123 Systems, Lithium Werks has supplied 200 million battery cells to more than 1,000 customers in 50 countries. For the development of the next generations of batteries, Lithium Werks is working with the University of Twente on new materials. The East Netherlands Development Agency Oost NL is investing in Lithium Werks to support the R&D campus, together with the municipality of Enschede and the province of Overijssel, and will also be supporting the expansion of the manufacturing plants.
The company has opened its first factory, near Shanghai, and is planning two more in 2019 in in Mexico and a second in China following a €300m fundraising round that includes oost NL. As part of the fundraising, Koolen says he aims to have 10 plants, each with output of 1GWh, by 2025
“Renewable energy sources, such as wind and sun, often produce the most energy at times when the demand is low. This mismatch between supply and demand means it is still necessary to have conventional coal or gas power stations. With smart energy storage and transport solutions, the energy will be available at the right time and place. This will require both sufficient battery capacity – we need to produce many more batteries – and artificial intelligence software,” he said.
Next: Artificial Intelligence
The campus will also develop artificial intelligence technology for autonomous electric vehicles provided as Mobility as a Service (MaaS) that will remove the need for private car ownership. In addition, the autonomous electric vehicles will in effect be mobile batteries that deliver vehicle-to-grid or vehicle-to-home power.
The first building at the campus is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019 with 300 researchers working on new technologies. The company says it plans to recruit some 2,000 people within five years to carry out R&D at the campus.