The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a €125 million loan to Umicore, the Belgian-based global materials technology and recycling group, to finance part of a greenfield production facility for cathode materials in Poland, the EIB announced Monday.
The cathode materials will be supplied to battery manufacturers of high-tech lithium-ion batteries that are primarily used in electric vehicles.
The loan will cover approximately half of the project costs in the initial phase, the EIB statement said, adding that around 350 full-time jobs will be created, and Umicore will partner with the local engineering school.
The greenfield facility will provide a reliable supply of advanced cathode materials, a key component for lithium-ion battery cell manufacturers in the region and worldwide.
“This is the first EIB loan to Umicore and we are glad we can inaugurate our partnership with such an innovative project. The trend towards the electrification of the automotive industry is gaining ground and in this context, it is important to develop a European capacity across the full value chain of electric vehicle battery production,” Teresa Czerwinska, EIB vice-president overseeing operations in Poland, was quoted as saying.
In the EIB's aim to support the full chain of electric battery production, including manufacturers and suppliers, Czerwinska said the bank provided a €480 million loan in March to LG-Chem Wroclaw Energy, a Polish company involved in the battery manufacturing industry, to 'create the right ecosystem, in which manufacturers and suppliers work hand in hand, create qualified jobs and team up with nearby universities.'
Filip Platteeuw, CFO of Umicore, also stressed the transition to cleaner mobility is a priority in the EU’s efforts to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.
'The development of our rechargeable battery materials activities in Europe is a strategic growth project for Umicore and we are proud that our greenfield site in Poland has been selected by the EIB as part of its clean mobility projects,' he noted.
The EIB expects to increase its backing of battery-related projects to more than €1 billion in financing in 2020. Since 2010, battery projects financed by the EIB have totaled €950 million and supported €4.7 billion of overall project costs.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu