European Commission chiefs have not ruled out the participation of the lead-acid industry in a proposed ‘batteries alliance’ for Europe— BBB has learned.
Lead producers called on the Commission to urgently rethink its proposals last week, after EU energy chief Maroš Šefčovič used an industry summit in Brussels to float proposals to invest in large-scale battery cells production— but failed to outline support for Europe’s powerhouse lead-acid battery industry.
The European Commission declined to give an on-the-record reply to BBB when asked if Šefčovič would widen the initial scope of the batteries initiative to include lead-acid when it draws up a “comprehensive roadmap” for the project next February.
But Commission sources told BBB Šefčovič “is aware” of the role of Europe’s lead-acid battery producers in the “EU value chain”. In addition, the Commission acknowledges lead-acid’s work in environmental remediation activities “such as recycling”, BBB was told.
The Commission believes “the development of new batteries in the field of electro-mobility – traction batteries – is based upon lithium chemistries, although other technologies could be considered”, BBB was told.
“There a number of battery chemistries— lead, lithium, sodium and nickel batteries— that are fit for different purposes and applications,” BBB was told. “On going research in this field will likely bring new developments.”
The sources said EUROBAT had “made its voice heard” at the summit on behalf of the batteries industry and the “next steps on the EU battery initiative will be defined in the weeks to come on the basis of further discussions with key players”.
The International Lead Association (ILA) said last week’s summit had “focused on the race to decarbonise transportation and the role of advanced lithium battery manufacturing”— when in fact the EU should remain “technology neutral and encourage the continued development of all battery chemistries through appropriate financial and legislative stimulus”.
ILA regulatory affairs director Steve Binks has told BBB the EU is in danger of “putting all its eggs in one basket” under the current proposals.