Taiwan’s solid-state battery developer ProLogium Technology has decided France will host its first overseas gigafactory, after evaluating potential sites in the UK, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and the US.

The company plans to invest €5.2 billion ($5.6 billion) in a plant in the northern port of Dunkirk. Construction is set to begin in the second half of 2024. Production will be developed in stages starting around late 2026 and reaching 48 gigawatt-hours per year by 2030.

That’s a smaller project than originally announced last July, when the company said it was vetting several potential sites for a 120 GWh gigafactory at an $8 billion investment tag, Kallanish notes.

Company’s ceo Vincent Yang said on Friday France’s low-cost nuclear and renewables energy and upfront state subsidies were key advantages supporting the location decision. In the US, tax credits offered under IRA are only available after production starts, while in the UK funding withdraws are tied to development milestones.

He has also highlighted Europe as a “good place to start a business” not only due to its growing market demand but because of its regulation neutrality. “It is supranational and will not be affected by national elections,” he explains.

“Selecting an ideal location in Europe has been an intense year-long process,” comments Gilles Normand, ProLogium’s vice president of international development. “The final choice has been difficult with three formidable final contenders... We have felt a strong sense of support at every level of the French government in the process led by Business France and the Minister of Economy, Finances and Industrial & Digital Sovereignty.”

With a joint development partnership with France-based Automotive Cells Company (ACC), ProLogium is seeking to stay close to its customers. Its solid-state lithium ceramic batteries are also targeted by Germany’s Mercedes-Benz and Vietnam’s VinFast – both of which are investors in the company.

According to Yang, the European project goes beyond a gigafactory. ProLogium would work to localise the sourcing of key raw materials and establish a research and development centre to foster innovation.

The battery maker expects to start mass production at its Taoke factory in Taiwan in the second half of the year. The NTD 4.2 billion ($136.3m) project is the world’s first 1-2 GWh solid-state lithium ceramic battery gigafactory.

Backed by over 200 patents, ProLogium says its lithium ceramic battery, which features a ceramic oxide solid-state electrolyte, is much safer than conventional battery packs. The new packaging approach known as MAB makes the batteries smaller and lighter, while offering a longer driving range than lithium-ion batteries.

Ceramic oxide electrolyte is known for its superior stability. Yet, it also presents challenges such as low ion conductivity, brittleness and poor interface contact, which ProLogium claims to have overcome with proprietary technologies.