European battery manufacturer Northvolt plugs into the power of ABB's Plant Optimization Methodology

The Energy Revolution is in high gear. Communities, companies, and entire countries are working together to develop and use renewable energy sources to lower the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Since electrification of transportation is especially critical to realizing a carbon neutral society, the need for more efficient batteries is more crucial than ever.

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The situation

  • Developing means of sustainable transport plays a key role in lowering world's reliance on fossil fuels
  • Northvolt set out to build the world's greenest battery to enable the European transition to renewable energy

The solution

  • Partnered with ABB to fast-track project execution with integrated electrification, instrumentation,
    control, and digitalization (EICD) solutions to enable efficient start-up as well as operations

Fast-track execution of Northvolt's first gigafactory

A key milestone in achieving their goal to create the world's greenest battery was to complete the construction of their first gigafactory, Northvolt Ett in Skellefteå, Sweden.

The Northvolt team needed an industry partner who could fast-track and scale electrification and automation solutions to what will be Europe’s largest and most advanced lithium-ion battery gigafactory. And most importantly, they needed a capable, dependable partner from the project’s inception that could support them every step of the way.

Peter Carlsson, CEO of Northvolt:

“The world is moving quickly towards electrification. ABB is at the forefront of the electrification, and we are delighted to have them on-board as strategic partner, key supplier and investor."

A successful partnership

Northvolt chose ABB's Plant Optimization Methodology to help fast-track project execution with integrated electrification, instrumentation, control, and digitalization (EICD) solutions that would also enable efficient start-up as well as operations.

Key to this success was the ability to engage early and collaborate closely with all parties in the design phase, covering multiple disciplines and fast-tracking engineering.

This enabled ABB’s Plant Optimization Methodology to be fully leveraged, ensuring effective, efficient project planning execution and lifecycle management.

The scope of supply included ABB Ability™ System 800xA, ABB Power Management System, instrumentation, electrification, and other industry-leading technologies, which due to ABB’s integrated EICD offering and common platform, enabled ABB to reduce project delivery time by applying Adaptive Execution™ project delivery. This optimized project schedule, costs, and flexibility.

Solving unexpected challenges

As an EICD partner with an integrated offering and proven project execution model, ABB delivers on time and on budget—successfully supporting Northvolt’s most desirable results.

Positive outcomes included:
Fluidity in managing scope changes while maintaining budgets

• Project delivery model allowed for scope adjustments with no or limited cost impacts
• Enabled the project to incorporate design changes due to new technological advancements in the industry while maintaining the time schedule
• Electrification flexibility and adaptability enabled the provision of transformers and switchgear as required
Compressed schedule

• Modularization: Offsite pre-configuration and preassembly for more efficient installation and commissioning, decreased safety risks with less working hours spent on site
• Use of Select I/O enabled de-coupled hardware and software engineering and project tasks
• Optimized control integration streamlined interfaces and reduced complexity
Flexibility for reprioritization

• Thanks to ABB’s flexible project model, activities were reprioritized to mitigate project delays
• Instrumentation agility and parallel-path automation design maximized project efficiency
ABB scope included among others:

• Main transformers
• 33kV GIS switchgear
• Low-voltage switchgear
• Distribution transformers
• +5,000 pieces of instrumentation
• ABB Ability™ System 800xA distributed control system consisting of 27,000 I/O
• Extended Operator Workstation (EOW)

Patricia O'Carroll, Group Construction Senior Engineering Manager

“The success of this project was in large part due to the early stage collaboration with ABB in design and engineering, which helped find ways to save time and money. Looking ahead, the foundation of ABB’s integrated solutions will enable faster training for start-up and eventual onboarding.”


“From the beginning, ABB demonstrated their dedication to our efforts and commitment to work side-by-side with us to achieve the best possible project outcomes. As a true partner in electrification, instrumentation, control, and digitalization we are looking forward to exploit together with ABB the full potential of innovation and smart solutions that enable fast-track project completion and optimize our ongoing operations.”

Stefano Piscitelli, Vice President Construction, Northvolt

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