Terra E Holding will choose one of five candidate sites in Germany or a neighbouring country next month to build its 34 gigawatt-hour battery factory.

The newly founded Terra E was set up this year by the German battery expert BMZ Holding GMBH, together with the former CEO of Swiss battery producer Leclanché SA Dr. Ulrich Ehmes and Holger Gritzka. Gritzka, a former manager of automotive and aviation system partner ThyssenKrupp System Engineering and now chief executive.
Terra E
Terra E Holding has helped to assemble a consortium of 17 German companies and won government support for the project, which will break ground in the fourth quarter of 2019 and reach full capacity in 2028.

Lithium-ion batteries can help stabilize intermittent flows of wind and solar power on electricity networks. They’re also projected to power millions of plug-in cars expected to roll off German production lines beginning early next decade. The launch of this high profile venture indicates an acceleration in these areas for Germany.

“We have to be better in process technology than competitors, a constant step ahead,” Gritzka told Bloomberg, emphasizing that Terra E will be counting on Germany’s competitive edge in manufacturing robotics and automated production to make money.

Global battery-making capacity is set to more than double by 2021, reaching 278 gigawatt-hours, up from about 103 gigawatt-hours in the second quarter, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. 

Asia electronics makers including South Korea’s LG Ltd. and Samsung SDI Co. currently control the market. Tesla will become the world’s No. 2 battery maker once it finishes building its $5 billion, 35 gigawatt-hour Gigafactory in Nevada.

The Terra E project, which won $6.2m in subsidies from Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research, expects to need upwards of a billion euros before completion, the CEO said.

Terra E will be seeking strategic investors that are attracted by the government-paid research embedded in Terra’s technology and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s endorsement of the company, added Gritzka.

His company will focus its batteries on stationary units and the project aims to tap an emerging market for mobile and non-automotive power and storage.