China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) in Debrecen, eastern Hungary, is applying for permission to scale back its original plan, at least in terms of the size of the factory. A smaller area for battery production could also mean lower environmental impact, Cívishír reports.
The Chinese company’s investment has been a source of concern in Debrecen for months, with residents worried about environmental compliance, among other things. Now Cívishír writes about an environmental document on CATL’s battery factory in the city.
In the document, the Chinese company is requesting a modification of the environmental permit issued on 13 February. The document, foreseeing a reduction in the area of the factory and therefore less polluting battery production activities, was recently submitted by CATL to the Government Office of Hajdú-Bihar County. The authority has 60 days to consider the amendment application.
As CATL states in the document, the planning of the factory has progressed significantly since the single environmental permit was issued.
By refining the space requirements of the technological processes and optimizing the various land-use functions, the investor has established that buildings with a smaller size (and thus lower energy requirements) are sufficient for the operation.
This will reduce the area occupied from 277,188 to 240,435 square meter, therefore decreasing the area of the factory by almost 13 percent compared to the original plan.
As a result of the reduction in energy demand, the company intends to use one of the ten boilers planned as a back-up, thus reducing air pollution, and less natural gas will be needed to heat the boilers than originally planned. By refining the technology design data, NMP (N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone) emission concentrations could be reduced by nearly 34 percent.
CATL’s investment, announced by the government last autumn, is the largest ever in the country – worth up to HUF 3,000 billion (EUR 7.9 billion) and creating 9,000 jobs. However, some of Debrecen’s residents, mainly fired up by opposition politicians, have started to protest against the factory.
As a result of the strong opposition, the factory was granted an environmental permit under very strict conditions in February this year.
With the issued permit, the government office has imposed a number of obligations on the investor to protect environmental elements such as soil, air, nature, and water.
In addition, in a number of cases, the decision required compliance with stricter limits than those laid down in the legislation and more frequent inspections. It is important to note, however, that two major green organizations, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenpeace, had previously spoken out in favor of the factory, saying that the country could benefit from the investment and not harm the environment as long as basic rules were respected.
Meanwhile, 24.hu reports that the Debrecen Court of Justice will once again have to decide whether to halt the construction of the Chinese battery factory on environmental grounds. The Metropolitan Court of Appeal has annulled its earlier decision, in which the court refused to stop the investment, and ordered the court of first instance to conduct a new procedure.
Featured photo via Twitter/SFC Talk