Clean Technology Canada

Battery cell manufacturing is just the first step for design firms

January 9, 2024
By Canadian Manufacturing

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Battery cell manufacturing is just the first step for design firms

On Nov. 27, 2023 E-One Moli Energy and Stantec announced plans to construct an advanced manufacturing facility in British Columbia. The construction is meant to support the burgeoning EV manufacturing supply chain in Canada through lithium-ion battery cells.

Stantec is heading the design & engineering and was asked about their own cleantech efforts and experience they have in building with sustainability in mind.

George Halkias, Stantec VP Market Leader for Manufacturing in North America. and Ian Chan, Stantec Principal based out of B.C. sat down with Canadian Manufacturing to talk about the work being done.

“We’ve done similar facilities and we know there are specific types of storage, processes and raw materials involved in each project, so each project is unique,” says Ian Chan. “Our experiences in adjacent industries like warehouse logistics helps us understand how our client wants to operate.”

(Credit: Stantec)

“We work on incorporating unique technologies like lithium-ion battery cells in manufacturing projects starting on R&D projects.” says George Halkias. “So we’re very familiar with the needs E-One Moli has.”

When referring to some of the unique challenges posed by E-One Moli’s manufacturing plant, Ian referred to specific ‘temperatures, humidity and handling requirements’ that the raw and processed materials would require at a manufacturing plant.

“Manufacturers are aware of the cleantech focus in Canada and abroad,” says Ian Chan. “Companies are setting ESG goals and exploring ways they can transition to meet their sustainability goals. It may not be immediately feasible to go all the way, but they’re putting capital investments into research and incremental improvements.”

“There are a series of other technologies being developed that are related to lithium-ion battery manufacturing,” says Halkias. “Other fuel cell technologies can help manufacturers meet energy demands outside of lithium-ion technology. Energy storage technologies are being developed that manufacturers are considering constantly.”

There have been a number of global OEMs making manufacturing investments in Canada in since late 2022. Volkswagen announced plans for a car factory in St. Thomas, Ont., Stellantis announced battery manufacturing plans in Windsor, Ont., and now E-One Moli announced manufacturing plans in British Columbia.

“The government investments in the EV manufacturing supply chain helps clients see Canada as a lucrative place for manufacturing. Government funding makes a big difference,” says Ian Chan. “Clients are trying to anchor their supply chain outside of China and diversify their materials to be less reliant on one part of the globe. They are reshoring their operations back to North America, and so they are exploring Canada to grow their market here.”

George Halkias added onto this, elucidating on why advanced manufacturing was on the rise in North America.

“The days of requiring a low-end labour pool and needing to go to Mexico, China or India for cost concerns are behind us for the most part. This kind of advanced manufacturing requires technically trained labour, which gives you more options in terms of where to go,” he says.

The Stantec representatives say they are focused on pooling their experience building facilities across varying industries to bring a comprehensive package to their clients. They say they do this currently, bringing together engineers, architects, and consultants across teams to meet their clients’ needs, but are focused on a corporate campaign to make sure the manufacturing industry knows all this.

“It’s not just the manufacturing plant, we can bring together a team of experts to answer questions and have a conversation around their options when it comes to solving their challenges,” says Chan.

E-One Moli’s plant will be located in Maple Ridge, B.C., a city in the northeastern Greater Vancouver area, according to an announcement by the federal and B.C. governments in 2023.

Construction of the battery facility is expected to begin later this year and be completed by 2028.

Advanced manufacturing continues to support the EV supply chain in Canada, through new technologies finding manufacturing homes in across the country.

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