Volta Energy to open $750-million copper foil factory in Quebec
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Batteries
Sep 7, 2023
Mehanaz Yakub

Volta Energy Solutions Canada will manufacture copper foil for use in electric vehicle batteries in a new factory 65 kilometres east of Montreal

Volta Energy Solutions Canada is opening Canada’s first copper foil factory in Granby, Quebec. It aims to start full-scale production at the plant in 2026. Photo: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Volta Energy Solutions Canada will manufacture copper foil for use in electric vehicle batteries in a new factory 65 kilometres east of Montreal

Volta Energy Solutions Canada is opening Canada’s first copper foil factory in Granby, Que. In an announcement made this week, the company says it aims to start full-scale production at the plant in 2026.

The news follows exclusive reporting by Electric Autonomy in August 2022, which noted Volta purchased land in Granby in Nov. 2021 with the intention of building its own copper foil production facility.

Volta is a subsidiary of Solus Advanced Materials, a South Korean copper foil manufacturer. Solus Advanced Materials is a supplier of copper materials to various clients — including Tesla.

The initial annual copper foil production capacity at Volta’s factory will be 25,000 tonnes. Capacity will expand to 63,000 tonnes per year once the second phase of the project kicks off in 2027.

The plant will manufacture enough copper foil for approximately 2.5 million vehicles in North America.

”I am very proud to see Granby become the first city in Canada with a factory providing copper sheets for use in electric car batteries through the arrival of Volta,” says Quebec Premier François Legault, in a press statement.

“Right now, we are building an important segment of the battery sector in Quebec, which will bring more investment our way over the years.”

Use of copper foil in EVs

Copper foil serves as a crucial component used as an anode collector in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries for EVs.

The Quebec facility will become Volta’s third copper foil production plant. It adds to the company’s existing battery foil plants in Luxembourg and Hungary.

“Volta brings unique advantages and expertise to the region. Its commitment to advanced technology, sustainability, and circular economy practices sets it apart,” says Dejae Chin, chairman of Solus Advanced Materials and Volta Energy Solutions.

“With its strategic geographical location providing privileged access to the North American market and its strong political commitment to making electric vehicle battery production a key sector of its economy, Quebec is the ideal location for Volta’s first North American factory.”

The total investment required for the Volta plant project is $750 million.

The Quebec government is providing a $150 million loan for the project. The loan is partly forgivable under certain conditions, such as meeting creating and maintaining 260 jobs at the plant.

There is also potential federal government financial support on the horizon. A Volta spokesperson told Electric Autonomy in an email statement that up to $70 million may be confirmed by Ottawa.

Expanding Quebec’s EV supply chain

Establishing the first copper foil plant represents a significant milestone in building a comprehensive EV manufacturing supply chain for Quebec and Canada, say top government officials.

“We’ve made it clear that Canada is a partner of choice when it comes to the future of the automotive sector. This is why I’m pleased that [Volta Energy Solutions Canada] has recognized that when it comes to EV manufacturing, we are a top choice,” says François-Philippe Champagne, federal minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

“Thanks to this project, we’re not only reinforcing Quebec’s key role in the Canadian electric vehicle value chain and ensuring that we have multiple steps of the EV value chain in Canada but also creating hundreds of well-paying jobs for the people of Granby.”

In a related development, last month, Ford Motor Co., in collaboration with its South Korean partners EcoPro BM Co. and SK On Co., unveiled plans for a $1.2-billion battery cathode factory in Bécancour, Quebec.

Additionally, General Motors and Korea-based Posco Chemicals are building a $500-million cathode active material factory in Bécancour.

There are a slew of other notable EV supply chain players present in the province. They include German chemical giant BASF and mining companies like Electra Battery Materials, Nemaska Lithium, Vale Canada and Nouveau Monde.

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