Russia’s state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom continues to diversify, as one of the group’s subsidiaries has acquired a major stake in a South Korean manufacturer of energy storage products.
RENERA LLC, which is Rosatom’s integrator company for the energy storage business, and also a subsidiary of TVEL Fuel Company of Rosatom, on March 5 announced it has finalized the deal to acquire a 49% share of Enertech International. Enertech makes electrodes, lithium-ion storage cells, and energy storage systems.
The agreement also includes the opportunity for RENERA to build a manufacturing facility for lithium-ion cells and energy storage systems in Russia, with at least 2 GWh of production capacity by 2030. The plan is for that facility to begin production in 2025. Rosatom on Friday said the lithium-ion batteries made in Russia are earmarked for use in electric vehicles (EVs), in what it called “special equipment,” and for battery energy storage systems (BESS) attached to the power grid.
Rosatom in a news release said its alliance with Enertech is part of the company’s “strategic development of non-nuclear businesses. Energy storage is an end-to-end technology in Rosatom’s portfolio of new businesses, which makes it possible to create high-tech products which are in demand in the new technological paradigm.”
“The alliance with the technological partner is a strategically important milestone for the development of Rosatom’s energy storage business,” Natalia Nikipelova, president of TVEL Fuel Co., said in an email to POWER. “This will increase production capacity, significantly enhance our expertise and applications based on lithium-ion batteries and also facilitate access to foreign markets. In addition, local manufacturing content in Russia means not just new technologies and products, but also new jobs.”
Rosatom said establishing what it called a “world-class battery production enterprise” in Russia would jump-start that country’s EV industry. “Reducing dependence on imports, associated commercial risks and, as the result, lower cost of the final products could become an incentive for production growth and widespread introduction of Russian-made electric transport,” it said.
The company also noted the growth in demand for energy storage systems, and said increasing the use of BESS installations on the power grid would help solve issues of stability, enabling better regulation of power fluctuations, “which are typical for the power systems with [the] developing renewable energy sector.”
RENERA, which Rosatom and TVEL Fuel Co. launched in October 2020, has a portfolio that includes more than 120 ongoing and completed projects for the supply of lithium-ion energy storage devices. Most of those contracts were previously signed by TVEL enterprises including Cathode Materials, NPO Centrotech, and Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant. The contracts include services for the EV industry, equipping substation DC systems, and facilitating uninterrupted power supply systems with lithium-ion energy storage batteries.
Enertech International was founded in 2001. It is one of South Korea’s leading national manufacturers of lithium-ion cells, batteries, and energy storage systems.
—Darrell Proctor is associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).