A young company launched a EUR 1.1 billion project for a battery plant, recycling facility and an R&D center in Bulgaria. Avesta Battery and Energy Engineering (ABEE), headquartered in Diegem, Belgium, has ambitious plans for Southeastern Europe.
Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov has unveiled the plans for the establishment of a battery gigafactory in Stara Zagora for the automotive industry in combination with a recycling facility in Burgas and a research and development hub in Plovdiv. The investor is Belgian company ABEE.
Its President and Founder Noshin Omar said the BulgaPower initiative is for the first solid-state battery plant with a capacity of 10 GWh per year, to be extended to 20 GWh, a battery recycling unit of 50,000 tons a year and the “largest R&D center in Europe.”
The company, set up in 2019, said the project would create more than 1,000 direct jobs. It valued the overall investment at EUR 1.1 billion.
ABEE to build R&D center first
ABEE launched projects this year for battery factories in neighboring Romania and North Macedonia as well.
The project will be implemented in phases over the next three to five years, the firm added. The government pledged to provide as much state aid as it can, defining the project as strategic. Of note, Rystad Energy said in its recent analysis that Bulgaria is the most profitable market in Europe for battery energy storage investments.
If implemented, ABEE’s “investment intention,” as Denkov called it, would be the largest so far in industrial production in the country. The first stage is the construction of the R&D hub in Plovdiv, scheduled to begin in September, followed by the recycling plant.
No toxic materials
Prime Minister Denkov said the company’s technology excludes nickel, cobalt and lead and that it uses cheaper materials for its lithium ion batteries. The battery plant accounts for most of the investment and most of the planned jobs.
Solar MD, a battery manufacturer based in South Africa, opened its LiFePO4 Energy Storage facility in Rousse this year. State-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding or BEH has established a subsidiary for green energy and storage projects.