Changes on the Horizon for the Largest Battery Company’s Investment

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Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), the Chinese company known as the world’s largest battery manufacturer, is planning to reduce the size of its future factory in Debrecen (eastern Hungary), reports Világgazdaság.

The size of CATL’s battery factory in Debrecen may change. The Chinese company’s project has been raising environmental concerns among Debrecen residents for months. CATL has now applied for a modification of the environmental permit issued by the government on 13 February, because they plan to reduce the size of the factory area included in the original permit, thereby reducing the pollution footprint of the battery production. The Hajdú-Bihar County Government Office will decide on the amendment application within 60 days.

As stated in CATL’s application, by optimizing land use

the Chinese company intends to reduce the project’s floor area from 277,000 square meters to 240,000 square meters, while the factory’s area will be nearly 13 percent smaller than originally planned.

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It was recalled that last autumn the Hungarian government announced that CATL would be the biggest investment in the country’s history, worth up to €7.9 billion and creating 9,000 jobs. However, due to strong opposition from Debrecen residents, in February this year the project was granted an environmental permit under very strict conditions.

Protests have been going on ever since. Some already talk of the project as a poison factory, due to their impact on the security of water supply, while others fear the impact on the environment.

The local government office imposes a number of obligations on the Chinese investor to protect the environment, such as soil, air, nature and water, and the Chinese company must comply with stricter restrictions and more frequent inspections than required by law.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Greenpeace, two global green organizations, have previously publicly backed the project, saying countries can benefit from the investments as long as they do not harm the environment.

Meanwhile, the Debrecen court will again decide whether to stop the construction of the Chinese battery factory on environmental grounds. Europe’s green transition is unthinkable without batteries and battery factories. Battery storage is also the most commonly used technology on unelectrified railway lines.

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Via Világgazdaság, Featured image via Facebook/Qingdao Multinationals Summit

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