Den nya industrialiseringenNorra Sverige

Northern fertilizer booms as startups plan big

This is what Cinis Fertilizer's factory in Skellefteå might look like.
This is what Cinis Fertilizer's factory in Skellefteå might look like.

Investments in the fertilizer industry are thriving in northern Sweden. One emerging player, Cinis Fertilizer, has significant plans for growth and is confident that there is ample demand for multiple factories. However, the company is keeping quiet about its timetable for expansion in Skellefteå.

Norra Sverige 3 april 2023 09:50

In mid-January, Cinis Fertilizer was granted planning permission for its 2.7-hectare site in Bergsbyn, located opposite Northvolt's factory in Skellefteå. However, the company is not ready to disclose any forecasts regarding the timeline for groundbreaking or production.

– At the moment, we are unable to provide any information. The environmental permitting process is a factor that needs to be considered. As a listed company, we will share new information every quarter, says Anders Antonsson, the communications manager.

Örnsköldsvik municipal councilor Anna-Britta Åkerlind (C), Cinis Fertilizers CEO Jakob Liedberg and We Constructions CEO Jonas Lindéndug the first hole for construction on Köpmanholmen in mid-January.

The Skellefteå project is not the first on Cinis Fertilizer's list. The company is currently focused on its inaugural factory in Köpmanholmen, Örnsköldsvik, where groundwork is set to commence after receiving the necessary approvals in January. In March, the company will engage in environmental permitting discussions in the Land and Environmental Court.

– It's great that there will be a comprehensive process in Örnsköldsvik. We expect to benefit from this in future projects," says Antonsson. 

The company anticipates a construction period of one year for the Köpmanholmen factory, which will produce 100,000 tons of fossil-free potassium sulfate (SOP) annually. The Skellefteå factory will produce 200,000 tonnes and employ approximately 50 workers.

Residual products become green fertilizer and salt in Cinis Fertilizer's process.

Cinis Fertilizer has plans to build 4-6 factories within the next decade. However, the locations of future projects have yet to be determined.

–It's likely, we will build them in the Northern Nordic region. The prerequisites are inexpensive electricity and a port to facilitate product shipping, says Antonsson.

The company's production process is based on utilizing residual products, primarily from electric car battery production, resulting in a minimal climate footprint. Collaborating with Dutch fertilizer manufacturer Van Iperen, Cinis Fertilizer intends to sell mineral fertilizer (NPK) products. NPK refers to nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the three essential nutrients. Van Iperen has already committed to purchasing production from the first two Cinis Fertilizer factories.

Potassium sulfate is to be manufactured in Skellefteå.

Both LKAB and Spanish fertilizer giant Fertiberia are planning major projects in Luleå. Fertiberia intends to build a factory for producing green ammonia and fertilizer on Hertsöfältet in Luleå.

Meanwhile, LKAB will take advantage of mining waste in its industrial park, Reemap on Svartön in Luleå, to produce, among other things, phosphorus. It is unclear what product LKAB will sell, but the company wants to get as close as possible to finished fertilizers.

However, Cinis Fertilizer is not afraid of competition.

–These are different products, so we are not competitors. On the contrary, we think it's good to have more fertilizer manufacturers. Russia and Belarus have had 30% of the world market, and with the sanctions imposed due to the war in Ukraine, there is room for more players. In addition, agriculture wants to increase yields compared to before, which further increases interest in the products, says Antonsson.

Residual products from Northvolt's production of electric car batteries are the basis of Cinis Fertilizers

Why have all these investments in fossil-free fertilizers come at the same time and to the same region?

– I cannot answer that. But a low electricity price is a prerequisite. And for us, Northvolt's factory in Skellefteå was a prerequisite.

According to Antonsson, the factories in Örnsköldsvik and Skellefteå will not handle any explosive substances.

- There will be no emissions either to land, air or water. We have the water in a closed circuit. The transport from the factory to the port will take place by truck.

Cinis Fertilizer

Cinis Fertilizer, with its CEO Jakob Liedberg, was founded in 2018 and has its head office in Lund but is based in Örnsköldsvik. 

The company has already attracted investors, including institutional and private investors, and was recently listed on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market. Cinis Fertilizer aims to become a leading producer of sustainable fertilizers in the Nordic region, with plans for several factories in the coming years.