The European Commission has approved a €3.2 billion ($3.5 billion) fund to promote the research and development of a battery ‘ecosystem’ in Europe.
Seven European countries will receive funding to develop cooperation, accelerate laboratory-to-market innovation and introduce a ‘fit-for-future’ regulatory framework.
The project will focus on: raw and advanced materials; cells and modules (for automotive and stationary applications); battery systems (including battery management software and test methods); and repurposing, recycling and refining.
The member states asking for funding are: Belgium (€80 million); Finland (€30 million); France (€960 million; Germany (€1.25 billion;) Italy (€570 million); Poland (€240 million); and Sweden (€50 million).
The project could lead to a further €5 billion in private investment, said the European Commission.
Seventeen direct participants, mostly industrial actors, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), from the countries will work with each other and more than 70 external partners, such as public research organisations.
The project is planned to end 2031 (with differing timelines for each sub-project).
The project is part of the ‘European Battery Alliance’ launched in 2017 by the Commission, with interested European member states and industrial actors, and the Strategic Action Plan for Batteries in adopted in May 2018.
Margrethe Vestager, commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “Battery production in Europe is of strategic interest for our economy and society because of its potential in terms of clean mobility and energy, job creation, sustainability and competitiveness.
“Our Important Projects of Common European Interest smooth the way for public authorities and industries from several member states to come together and design ambitious innovation projects with positive spill-over effects across industrial sectors and regions.”
Maroš Šefčovič, vice-president for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight, said: “Europe’s first major pan-European battery ecosystem is emerging, with lead projects in all segments of this strategic value chain.”
The focus areas:
- Raw and advanced materials: The project aims to develop sustainable innovative processes allowing extraction, concentration, refining and purification of ores to generate high-purity raw materials. With respect to advanced materials (such as cathodes, anodes and electrolytes), the project aims to enhance existing materials or create new ones, to be used in innovative battery cells.
- Cells and modules: The project aims to develop innovative cells and modules designed to meet the safety, and performance required for both automotive and non-automotive applications (e.g. stationary energy storage, power tools, etc.).
- Battery systems: The project aims to develop innovative battery systems including battery management software and algorithms as well as innovative test methods.
- Repurposing, recycling and refining: The project aims to design safe and innovative processes for collection, dismantling, repurposing, recycling and refining of recycled materials.