Northvolt, Europe’s largest climate tech startup, will make a decision on expanding into North America in the coming weeks, the company’s cofounder, Paolo Cerruti, told Sifted on Friday. It would be the company’s first operations outside of Europe.
“There is clearly a time window to get into North America. That time window is important, those financial packages won’t last forever,” he said — referencing America’s giant climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which offers significant incentives for companies building green technology to move to the US.
“I think we are going to come to a conclusion in the coming weeks,” Cerruti told Sifted.
Northvolt has earmarked Q2 for a US factory announcement for quite some time, a spokesperson confirmed.
Last week, Climeworks, a carbon removal company and another of Europe’s largest climate tech startups, became one of the first big names in sustainability to confirm its expansion into America. The IRA sent shockwaves through the EU, where policymakers have scrambled to draw up a response with the incentives to keep hold of its home-grown climate tech.
Speaking in Portugal, where Northvolt is building a lithium conversion plant, Cerruti said America’s bill had caught the entire industry by surprise. “The IRA has been an immense catalyst for us reshuffling our industrial rollout plan,” he said.
The climate tech world’s eyes have been on the US, but Northvolt has also, according to reports, opened dialogues with federal governments in Canada. “We have solicitations from all over the place on a weekly basis. And it's not only the United States,” he told Sifted.
And if Northvolt does announce North American expansion, it would likely mean more than just a gigafactory (a facility which produces batteries for electric vehicles).
“If we move to North America we will very likely move with the entire value chain, including recycling and our own capabilities in active materials,” Cerruti said.