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Business Location Germany
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Amazon is investing around EUR 130 million in the construction of a new logistics center in Gera, Thuringia. The online retailer plans to begin operations at the Gera site before the start of the Christmas 2021 season, creating 1,000 new jobs at the logistics hub. The Gera site will be Amazon’s second foray into Thuringia, adding to the distribution center opened in Erfurt in 2019.
Austrian trailer and vehicle body manufacturer EMPL has announced plans to invest around EUR 20 million in the construction of a futuristic assembly plant and customer center in Zahna-Elster, Saxony-Anhalt. The planned expansion by the family-owned company will increase existing cooperation between the subsidiary site and the headquarters in Tyrol, with the expansion a direct response to increased global demand for specialized truck bodies. Completion and commissioning of the expansion project is set for the third quarter of the year.
Canadian cleantech company Rock Tech Lithium has announced plans to invest EUR 400 million in eastern Germany. The investment, which will see the company build its own lithium refinery, is part of its plans to become a fully integrated producer of battery-grade lithium hydroxide and a strategic partner for the burgeoning electric vehicle and battery storage industries in eastern Germany and Europe. Germany is already home to battery market leaders CATL in Thuringia, SVOLT in Saarland, Farasis in Saxony-Anhalt, Tesla Microvast and BASF in Brandenburg, and Volkswagen in Lower Saxony.
Rock Tech Lithium believes that ten to twelve such refineries will be needed in Europe to meet future demand. A final decision on the selected site – Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt being in consideration – is expected in June, with construction work set to begin as early as April 2022. Subsidy programs in the regions in transition across Germany could see the company benefit from up to EUR 45 million in public subsidies. AMG Lithium, a subsidiary of the Dutch Advanced Metallurgical Group, has also announced plans to build a EUR 60 million refinery in Zeitz, Saxony-Anhalt.
French concern Air Liquide plans to invest EUR 40 million at BASF’s Schwarzheide site in Lusatia. The investment will see the company construct a new air separation plant for the production of material for lithium-ion battery cells by 2023. Air Liquide and BASF recently agreed a new long-term contract for the supply of oxygen and nitrogen at the Schwarzheide site, at which the French concern has been active since 1995. BASF intends to manufacture cathode materials for 400,000 electric vehicles annually from 2022 as part of the European Battery Alliance. German federal and state funding of EUR 165 million has been made available for the battery project, with construction work underway since August 2020.
The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has opened a new research facility in Cottbus that will focus on alternatives to fossil fuels as part of its efforts to decarbonize industrial processes. Opened in May 2021, the new DLR site in the state of Brandenburg will focus on the simulation and virtual design (“digital twinning”) of modified production processes as well as the development of high-temperature heat pumps. The research activities carried out make the DLR an important partner in the surrounding region of Lusatia’s structural transition from being a traditional mining area.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS has received EUR 5 million in funding to establish an initiative researching recycling processes for the recirculation of critical raw materials. The state of Saxony has provided funding for the new institute site in Freiberg. The “SaxBatt” project will include a pilot production line in Dresden as well as the planned facility for automatized reuse of spent batteries in Freiberg. The initiative is part of a larger drive to establish the state as an industrial hotspot for batteries.