The European Union has unveiled a 20-point action plan to guide development of a newly-launched EU “batteries alliance”.
EU energy chief Maroš Šefčovič (pictured) told last week’s long-awaited summit of battery industry leaders in Brussels the project presented an “immense” challenge— to create “almost from scratch, competitive and sustainable, battery cell manufacturing in Europe supported by a full EU-based value chain”.
Šefčovič acknowledged that the EU had yet to establish “scaled-up manufacturing capacity in battery cells”.
But in a call to arms to battery industry bosses, Šefčovič said companies should act fast to be ready to compete in a European battery market estimated to be worth around EUR250 billion by 2025. This would mean building at least 10 Gigafactories across the EU, he said.
And despite pressure to include the bloc’s powerhouse lead-acid industry in future investment planning, Šefčovič made clear the EU’s focus would be lithium-based batteries for future electric vehicles and other ‘new energy’ applications.
The energy commissioner said the EU would invest to support firms producing European batteries with “truly green” credentials such as being produced under the “highest environmental standards, a low carbon footprint and a sustainable supply chain”. Šefčovič said this would include ensuring high ethical standards for the production of raw materials.
The 20-point plan included securing access to raw materials “from resource rich countries outside the EU and access to secondary raw materials through recycling in a circular economy of batteries”. The EU would also seek to “expand and create” European sources of raw materials.
The plan also sets out a goal of “standardising storage related installations including charging infrastructure, safety rules, active load compensation”.