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Germany names ‘national battery factory’ consortium

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Federal research minister Karliczek  © BMBF / Hans-Joachim Rickel

Germany has revealed the partners of a new government-backed battery cell consortium, as part of plans to secure the nation’s “technological sovereignty in battery technology”.

Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché has been selected to join the consortium along with German battery peers BMZ, TerraE, Customcells, EAS and Liacon.

Federal research minister Anja Karliczek said Germany would invest an extra €500 million (US$570m) in battery research over the next four years, including the construction of a ‘national battery research factory’— to be operated by the consortium— bringing research and production activities “under one roof”.

The location of the new facility will be selected by mid-2019, after which the construction phase will begin.

Karliczek said the aim is to “accelerate the transfer of new battery concepts and production processes into practice”. The factory will offer companies the chance to “test their battery concepts for mass production”.

The minister said Germany needed to increase its ability to take on battery producers in Asia because “not a single battery cell of today's e-cars is produced in Germany”. “We must increase our capacities,” Karliczek said.

According to the research ministry, “promising” batteries that emerge from initial testing by the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) “will be processed and examined on a mass-scale as the next step towards battery cell research production”. The obligation would then be on industry to “continue and implement work” on developing and commercialising products, the ministry said.

BEST Battery Briefing reported last September that Germany wanted to set a faster pace of progress for Europe’s ‘Batteries Alliance’— with Berlin in the driving seat.

The move came after Germany dipped into an economic aid fund to support the construction of a battery cells factory in the country by Chinese lithium giant Contemporary Amperex Technology.

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