Industrial Electromobility Picks up the Pace in Saxony-Anhalt

December 2019

Dr. Jürgen Ude, State Secretary of the Saxony-Anhalt’s Economics Ministry, and Thomas Einsfelder, General Manager of IMG Saxony-Anhalt, at their visit at the Farasis Headquarter in Guangzhou in 2018 © Ministry of Economic Affairs, Sciences and Digitalization Saxony-Anhalt

Farasis Energy – major settlement in 2019

“The decision of Farasis to set up here and its intended major investment is a particularly important settlement success for Saxony-Anhalt as a location for business,” stated a delighted Economics Minister Prof Dr Armin Willingmann.“ Saxony-Anhalt is developing into a state of future technologies; industrial electromobility is accelerating here.” It was a much-noticed sensation when the Minister of Economic Affairs announced at the beginning of May 2019 that Saxony-Anhalt has once again asserted itself in the Europe-wide location competition. One of the globally leading battery manufacturers, Farasis Energy Inc., is to set up a battery cell, module and pack production facility in Bitterfeld-Wolfen in the administrative district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld in the coming years. By means of its newly founded subsidiary Farasis Energy Europe GmbH, the company will invest more than EUR 600 million in the new plant and create at least 600 new jobs in the completed facility. Farasis was founded in 2002 near San Francisco in the US state of California and employees around 3,500 people worldwide. The company already owns two factories in Ganzhou and Zhenjiang, China, for lithium-ion batteries. To accelerate its growth path on the European market and in order to supply local OEMs, the company planned the setup of a battery cell and module production plant at the Bitterfeld location (Solar Valley). In close coordination with the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Science and Digitalisation, the Investment and Marketing Corporation Saxony-Anhalt (IMG) supported Farasis intensively in the search for suitable industrial space. The company is now receiving support in the communication with the local administrations on bureaucratic topics as well as, in collaboration with other network partners (such as the Investment Bank of Saxony-Anhalt and the federal employment agency), assistance in matters of financial support and in the search for suitable specialist workers.

Lithium hydroxide in battery quality  

Also fitting into this context of electromobility is the decision by Dutch company Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V. (AMG) to build a lithium hydroxide refinery complex in Elsteraue, Zeitz. In the complex, lithium hydroxide is to be acquired in battery quality. AMG estimates the investments for laboratories and production at USD 50 to 60 million. It says that its German subsidiary AMG Lithium GmbH, based in Frankfurt/Main, has commenced construction planning and applied to the Investment Bank of Saxony-Anhalt for public funds for the creation of the complex. The General Manager of the Germany subsidiary of AMG, Scherer, told the newspaper Handelsblatt that Germany as a location boasted the advantages of well trained workers and proximity to customers. “The automotive and battery manufacturers have realised that it makes sense to build batteries for electric cars in Europe and to set up here.” According to the company, the refinery would be the first in Germany that is able to produce lithium hydroxide in the required purity grade.

HORIBA FuelCon is the leading manufacturer of test, production and diagnostic systems for fuel cells and batteries © IMG Sachsen-Anhalt/Andreas Lander

HORIBA FuelCon contributes to the e-mobility campus in the Magdeburg-Barleben region

The announcement of HORIBA FuelCon also comes into this category. In April, the hundred-per cent subsidiary of Japanese group HORIBA that is also part of HORIBA Automotive Test Systems is expanding its R & D and production site in Saxony-Anhalt.

The e-mobility specialist will invest around 30 million euros in a new building in the Ostfalen Technology Park in Magdeburg-Barleben by the end of 2021. During the coming years, up to 250 new jobs will be created. The new factory is intended to strengthen the role as “global competence center for fuel cells and batteries” within the HORIBA Group, explained Managing Director Dr. Ing. Ingo Benecke on the occasion of the press release for the announcement. The investment is also a contribution to the development of the Magdeburg-Barleben region into an ‘e-mobility campus’.

HORIBA FuelCon is the leading manufacturer of test, production and diagnostic systems for fuel cells and batteries. In the course of the conversion to alternative forms of clean drive technologies, HORIBA FuelCon is experiencing unprecedented demand from numerous international markets. The increased need for its technology is leading to the HORIBA subsidiary having to enlarge the production area.

Boryszew GmbH in Gardelegen focuses on positive momentum through e-vehicles

As an automotive supplier, Boryszew GmbH in Gardelegen, which is part of the Polish group Boryszew SA, repeatedly sails through turbulent waters. Now the largest local employer with 650 employees, in August 2019 the company again announced extensive investments in the machinery. Five new machines valued at approximately EUR 3 million are to lead above all to a further considerable increase in productivity. The biggest advantage of Gardelegen as a location continues to be the proximity to the main customer, Volkswagen (VW). Ventilation grilles, wheel covers and handles are manufactured here in an injection moulding process. The complete glove compartment in the Golf 7 also comes from Gardelegen. In the medium term, the company anticipates positive momentum in e-vehicles, as the change to electrotechnology will impact positively on the product portfolio, it says.

“2019 is a year in which an exciting time frame has opened up for FDI in Saxony-Anhalt not just in the area of new mobility but also in other areas of expertise, such as in the pharmaceutical sector, in chemistry and in the food industry,” explains Thomas Einsfelder, Managing Director of the Saxony-Anhalt’s economic development agency (IMG), naming further examples:

Inauguration of the new building for human virus production at IDT Biologika © IMG Sachsen-Anhalt/Nico Horn

Linde Group with new hydrogen liquefaction plant

At the end of October, the Irish Linde Group began construction of the new hydrogen liquefaction plant in Leuna. With the new plant – which, according to the company, will be the most modern of its kind in Europe – Linde will double its liquefaction capacities at the site. Instead of the previous five, the company will soon be able to produce up to ten tonnes of liquid hydrogen every day. Both plants are currently being supplied with the gaseous raw product from the neighbouring hydrogen production plants by means of a pipeline. In future, “green” hydrogen from the planned real-world laboratory in Leuna can be processed and used to supply hydrogen filling stations here as well. The hydrogen is liquefied at the new plant at a temperature of -253 °C and is subsequently loaded for lorry transportation at special filling stations. Hydrogen possesses a significantly higher energy content per volume unit in liquid form than in a gaseously compressed condition. The number of trips required to supply the customers is thus reduced significantly. With this investment, the Leuna chemical site is developing into the European centre for hydrogen liquefaction. Three hydrogen liquefaction plants are currently in operation in Europe – one of them already in Leuna.

The Belgian Solvay Group, one of the 10 largest chemical companies worldwide, is investing EUR 48 million in Bernburg, where soda has been manufactured for over 130 years. With new gas turbines, which produce some of the power for the plant, the site is secured for the long term and competitiveness is increased. The plant has 400 employees.

On 1 July 2019, the French group Ceva Sante`Animal acquired the animal health division of IDT Biologika, which belongs to the Klocke Holding. In future, the company at the Biopharmapark Dessau-Rosslau wants to concentrate on producing human-medical biotechnological vaccines for the national and international market. At the same time, Ceva announced comprehensive investments in the new global innovation centre for porcine vaccines.

Austrians build central warehouse in Magdeburg: favourable starting point for Northern and Eastern Europe

In September 2019, the Eglo Group from Austria performed the ground-breaking ceremony for its new logistics centre in the north of the state capital Magdeburg. According to the company, the reason for setting up there was that the very positive turnover performance in the segment of decorative house lights required an adjustment to the logistical network in Europe. Therefore, the company’s three central warehouses in Austria, Hungary and the Netherlands are being added to by a fourth in Magdeburg. The company’s says that the location is an important point of origin both for deliveries within Germany and for deliveries to Northern and Eastern Europe. With the millions it is investing, Eglo is launching its largest stock of finished goods and is creating space for 66,000 pallets in the fully automated high-bay warehouse and 10,000 pallets in the commissioning area. Austrian food logistics firm Gunz has already set up a distribution centre in the immediate neighbourhood.

In February, major bakery Ditsch, which belongs to the Swiss retail group Valora, announced an investment in the medium two-digit millions for the construction of a third production hall with initially two further production lines at the Oranienbaum site near Dessau-Rosslau. 100 new employees are to be hired. At the moment, 1.25 million baked goods are produced daily on eight production lines. With the investment, capacity is being increased by approximately 15 per cent. The global market leader in pretzel products is thus reacting to the growing demand of its customers not just in Europe but also in the USA and Japan.

IMG Saxony-Anhalt posts more new settlements than expansion investments for the first time since 2015

IMG Saxony-Anhalt’s General Manager Thomas Einsfelder is delighted with the good results: “Our concentration on innovation-driven areas of expertise and the DACH-countries, China and USA markets is beginning to pay off. We are now accelerating our comeback: as of mid-September 2019, the IMG Saxony-Anhalt is managing approximately 30 top investment projects. In case of success, by the end of 2020 EUR 3.4 billion in investments could be pushed through with the realisation of these top projects, and about 5,000 new jobs created. And there is something new and different to the previous years: in the first half of 2019, in Saxony-Anhalt we are recording more new projects in the field of settlements than in the field of expansion investments again for the first time since 2015.”

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