Finnish government-owned mining company Terrafame is to supply Renault with low-carbon and fully traceable nickel sulphate for its electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Under the agreement, Renault will secure a significant annual supply of nickel sulphate, representing up to 15 GWh of annual capacity. The cooperation, says Renault, will pay particular attention to sustainability systems and define detailed metrics for traceability beyond solutions currently used for EV battery chemicals production.

The partnership, says Renault Group, supports its strategy to offer competitive, sustainable, and ‘made in Europe’ electric vehicles to create a sustainable and fully transparent European battery value chain.

Under this strategy Renault aims to deploy higher performing, low-carbon and reusable batteries to create 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, the new agreement marks further progress towards the reduction of the environmental footprint of EVs throughout their life cycle and Renault Group’s objective of carbon neutrality by 2040.

Gianluca De Ficchy, Managing Director of Alliance Purchasing Organization at Renault Group describes the partnership with Terrafame as “an important component in realising our carbon reduction commitments. Low carbon footprint and traceability of battery chemicals are crucial factors to us,” he says, “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% less than the industry average.”

Joni Lukkaroinen, CEO of Terrafame adds, “For Terrafame this sets proper guidelines for the coming decade and could well mean a commitment of supplying nickel sulphate for up to 300,000 EVs annually. We are looking forward to many years of fruitful cooperation in helping to decarbonise mobility and transport.”

Renault describes the direct relationship as “a game-changer in the battery materials value chain”. Terrafame’s bioleaching-based production process, which uses living organisms to extract metals from their ores, uses about 90% less energy in the production of nickel sulphate than the industry average. In addition, Terrafame’s integrated production process begins and ends on one industrial site from a mine to battery chemicals production.

These company-specific and energy-efficient features, says Renault, “enable a fast-track to implement sustainability systems and create full transparency throughout the entire value chain. Apart from the detailed metrics, a commitment over the entire supply chain simplifies risk management and pricing mechanisms for all parties involved.”

The agreement is not exclusive but “reflects the parties’ mutual understanding and common intention to deepen the cooperation over the battery raw materials.”