Volta Energy Solutions, the European subsidiary of a South Korean electric vehicle (EV) battery materials company, plans to build Canada’s first battery copper foil factory in Granby, Que., further cementing the province’s EV battery manufacturing industry.
The plan for the $750-million factory east of Montreal represents the third international factory for Volta, joining facilities in Luxembourg and Hungary.
Volta, which will operate as Volta Energy Solutions Canada, expects mass production and North American sales of its copper foil to start in 2026. It anticipates producing 25,000 tons of copper foil per year, which will increase to 63,000 tons per year in its second phase – enough material for 2.5 million EV batteries, according to a release.
Volta is the subsidiary of Iksan, South Korea-based Solus Advanced Materials, a manufacturer of battery copper foil, copper foil and materials for electronics.
Dejae Chin, chairman of Volta and Solus, said in the release, "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.”
Funding the factory
Copper foil is a critical component of EV lithium-ion batteries, used as an anode collector.
To boost circularity, Volta said the factory will reuse copper scraps created from its copper foil production process to reduce waste; steam and heat from electrolysis will heat the plant and control its temperature; and water treatment stations will recycle water.
The Quebec government will lend Volta $150 million, of which $26 million is forgivable. The Canadian government will offer approximately $70 million in investment tax credits and other programs for the project which is expected to create 260 jobs, according to The Canadian Press.
Construction is expected to start in 2024.
Quebec attracting investment for EV battery factories
The debut of Volta in Quebec makes it one of several South Korean firms intending to build EV battery material factories in the province.
In August, Ford Motor Company and South Korean battery companies SK On and EcoProBM announced their plan for a $1.2-billion cathode manufacturing facility in Bécancour, Que.
It is not just South Korean companies. Germany’s BASF also aims to commission a Bécancour cathode active materials and recycling site by 2025.
The companies have cited various reasons for choosing Quebec.
BASF said Bécancour’s location along the Saint Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City offers a place for efficient logistics and hydropower. EcoProBM Canada is reported to have been attracted to Bécancour due to EV tax credits and its proximity to U.S. logistics and battery materials such as nickel.
Volta said it is addressing the increasing demand of the North American market for EV battery materials in its location.