MÜNSTER, Germany—Current battery cell manufacturing processes are energy intensive and produce high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. However, new product and production technologies will be able to optimize production to achieve large savings in the future.

The electricity demand of all battery factories planned to be in operation worldwide in 2040 will be 130,000 gigawatt-hour (GWh) per year, which is equivalent to the current electricity consumption of Norway or Sweden. That’s the finding of a recent study conducted by the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Battery Cell Production (FFB) and the University of Münster.

“Not only in Europe, but also in Asia and North America, the construction of battery cell factories is being promoted in order to drive the necessary change in mobility,” says Florian Degen, Ph.D., director of strategy and corporate development at Fraunhofer FFB. “With today's know-how and production technology, it takes 20 to 40 kilowatt-hours of energy to produce a battery cell with a storage capacity of 1 kilowatt-hour, depending on the type of battery produced and even without considering the material.”

According to Degen, technological improvements in production, such as the use of heat pumps, alternative drying technologies and new drying room concepts, as well as learning and economies of scale, will save up to 66 percent of energy by 2040. These potential savings are equivalent to the electricity consumption of Belgium or Finland in 2021.