Giampaolo Liberatore, Digital Communication Manager of FAAM
Faam is a brand of the Italian company FIB S.p.A., a subsidiary of Seri Industrial S.p.A., a holding company listed on the EXM market of the Italian Stock Exchange.
The group, whose reference shareholder is the Civitillo family, is active in two distinct but synergically connected markets: that of the production and recycling of plastics, through its subsidiary Seri Plast S.p.A., and that of the production and recycling of batteries with lead acid and lithium ion technology through FIB S.p.A.
In the last-mentioned sector, Faam is the flagship brand of the entire group.
The expertise of the Faam brand in the field of battery production, combined with the leadership in the plastics sector, allow the entire group to make the concept of Circular Economy not a goal, but a real business model.
The Faam brand owns four plants, three of them on Italian soil, which are:
- Teverola (Italy), site for the production of cells, modules and battery packs with lithium technology for electric mobility, storage, industrial motive power and marine applications;
- Monterubbiano (Italy), production site for starter power and storage batteries with lead-acid technology;
- Monte Sant'Angelo (Italy), location for production of motive power and storage batteries with lead acid technology;
- Yixing (China), production of batteries for motive power applications serving the local Chinese market with lead acid technology.
Opening in Italy: reasons
Let us start by saying that the philosophy of the Faam brand is 'To produce and sell top quality products starting from the territory where the people involved in production have their roots, and this with respect for the person and with the intention of improving the wellbeing of the community'.
The story of the Faam brand is a very Italian one. To start telling it, we must move to the quiet and beautiful surroundings of the Marche region, specifically to a hill, just over 450 metres high, near Fermo.
Here lies the town of Monterubbiano, the hometown of the founder of the Faam brand, Cavaliere del Lavoro Federico Vitali, now also vice-president of FIB S.p.A.
It is well known that in everyday life, the company has now abandoned its exclusively economic dimension in favour of an economic-social organism, and it is precisely for this reason that in 1976 the decision was made to set up the factories in the territory of the founder's town of origin.
The motivation, therefore, for opening in Italy is to be found in Cavalier Vitali's dream of bringing wealth to a small town with an exclusively rural economy, in such a way as to increase employment.
But even at that time, his vision, described by most as 'visionary', was already projected towards electric mobility and sustainability as well as the goal that is still pursued today: accelerating the European energy transition.
Precisely the entry of Faam into the Seri Group turns out to be the turning point that will follow up on these corporate initiatives.
Thanks to group synergies, in fact, it is now possible to activate a strategy of vertical integration of the production chain for both lead-acid and lithium technology.
Type of batteries produced
As already mentioned, Faam operates the entire battery production chain with lead acid technology, implementing a 100% sustainable circular economy, starting with raw materials and culminating with their recycling and subsequent reuse.
The goal of replicating the same mechanism also for lithium technology is alive and real, a challenging purpose that will lead the brand to recover more than 85% of active matter by 2027.
Batteries with lead acid technology are aimed at starter power solutions (for cars, motorbikes, trucks, and special applications), heavy and light motive power and industrial storage.
Lithium production, on the other hand, is based solely in the Teverola (CE) plant, formerly belonging to the Whirlpool Corporation, and is to all intents and purposes the first Mediterranean cluster for the production of lithium cells, modules and batteries.
The plant is currently operating with a production capacity of 335 MWh/year and serves the markets of energy storage solutions, heavy and light motive power, renewables, electric mobility and naval and military applications.
In 2019, the European Commission approved funding for the construction of a gigafactory with an annual production of more than 8GWh and a pilot line for end-of-life battery recycling.
In 2022, the Ministry of Economic Development issued a decree granting a subsidy to the company FIB S.p.A., from the IPCEI fund, amounting to over EUR 417 million for the start-up of the investment programme that will be known as 'Teverola 2', the first Gigafactory in Southern Europe.
All production processes implemented by Faam are designed to have a reduced impact on the environment.
The choice of vertical integration along the supply chain first, and the achievement of a circular economy later, is in itself a highly sustainable achievement.
The real challenge is to replicate what was done for lead technology also for lithium technology, producing all battery components, including an in-house manufactured BMS (Battery Management System) and controlling the entire material supply chain.
FAAM's goal is not only to produce batteries that accelerate the energy transition, but also to manufacture them using green processes with a low environmental impact.
In this sense, the fundamental pillars from which FAAM started are basically four:
- The use of LFP (lithium-iron-phosphate) chemistry instead of NMC (nickel-cobalt-manganese) or NMChigh nickel (with reduced cobalt levels) chemistry, a strategic choice that combines safety, high performance, material sustainability (even in extraction) and high availability;
- The use of water-based formulations, instead of organic solvents, for the production of electrodes, with the aim of maximising the reduction of emissions during the production process and making end-of-life recovery more efficient and sustainable;
- The recovery of active materials from end-of-life batteries through a 'clean' hydrometallurgical process;
- An integrated approach with in-house development of the Battery management System and Inverter for Storage solutions.
Energy efficiency uses
As far as energy-efficient uses are concerned, all activities (including production) can be included in that scope. On the applications side, two examples can be cited, in public transport and urban use:
- the first, in 2005, as part of the specific use for cleaning the city of Rome, with the regeneration of 26 garbage trucks into electric vehicles;
- the second, in 2008, with the regeneration of the city of Turin's transport G.T.T. from heat engine vehicles into lithium electric vehicles.
The Faam brand addresses a purely business-to-business market within the energy sector, finding a target audience in any reality that needs energy.
Whether it is to provide energy for start-up applications, or energy intensity for all traction applications, through to the energy storage of the most sophisticated storage systems, where the battery plays a key role in adding value to green energy from renewable sources by balancing supply and demand and stabilising the grid.
There is certainly no shortage of special applications for special projects, and this is the case for naval and military solutions.
An example can be found within the Italian Navy's fleet enrichment plan, where FIB S.p.A., through the FAAM brand, will provide its lithium-ion battery system that will be integrated by Fincantieri on what will be the first submarines with sustainable traction.