TOKYO -- Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese trading house Marubeni to collaborate on lithium ion battery production, the Japanese company said in a statement.
Northvolt, whose CEO Peter Carlsson used to work for Tesla, plans to build Europe's biggest battery cell plant in Sweden, with the backing of investors such as Volkswagen Group-owned truck maker Scania and Swiss engineering group ABB.
Marubeni is considering supplying Northvolt's battery factory with manufacturing equipment such as coating and slitting machines as well as raw materials including cathode and anode materials, a company spokeswoman said.
The Japanese company also plans to support the Swedish firm's sales of storage batteries, using its know-how in the renewable energy business, while the two companies are looking at jointly developing a battery recycling business, it added.
Energy storage is becoming increasingly important as production of renewable energy rises, because the wind might not blow or the sun shine during the peak hours when most consumers turn on their lights and appliances.
Northvolt competes against rivals such as South Korea's LG Chem to set up large-scale battery cell plants across Europe, where automakers and industrial firms have so far been largely reliant on Asian imports.
Danish wind turbine maker Vestas has also signed a partnership deal with Northvolt.
Asked whether Marubeni will invest in the Northvolt's battery project, the spokeswoman declined to comment.