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Europe on way to becoming second biggest lithium-ion battery maker

Fri, 03/19/2021 - 09:41 -- Paul Crompton

Europe is set to become the second largest manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries in the world by 2025, a meeting of the European Battery Alliance heard.

The claim came in a speech by the European Commission (EC) vice-president Maroš Šefčovič at the 5th ministerial meeting of the Alliance.

He used his speech to call for significant investment and greater mobilisation of public funding to maintain the growth of Europe’s battery industry.

Šefčovič said: “The production of lithium-ion cell batteries has shown the most progress, and by 2025 we are now set to become the second largest battery cell producer in the world, behind China. Moreover, nearly 30 announced projects should largely satisfy the EU demand for batteries driven by e-mobility.”

However, Šefčovič said he believes Europe’s battery success story will depend on its ability to address the continent’s battery manufacturing skills shortage, which could top 800,000 jobs across the entire battery value chain by 2025.

He said: “We need to shift to training on the ground, and therefore, to roll out national reskilling and upskilling programmes across the member states.”

He also encouraged EC member states to include investment in raw and advanced battery materials in their national recovery and resilience plans.

The meeting heard how Europe, despite the pandemic, continues to be a battery hotspot, closing the investment gap to Asian competitors.

The need for a sustainable battery manufacturing industry was highlighted last year when more than one million electric vehicles were registered in Europe, effectively doubling the number on EU roads.

Šefčovič said it was important to build on momentum by adopting the proposed Batteries Regulation by 2022 at the latest.

He also noted it was essential to strengthen Europe’s ability to sustainably source and process raw battery materials as well as produce key lithium-ion battery components.

The Commission is set to launch a roundtable on the environmentally and socially sustainable raw materials mining and will publish a set of EU principles for sustainable raw materials to guide industrial action.

In April, the commission and private actors are due to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the research and innovation framework programme Horizon Europe, which aims to foster research and innovation in the battery sector and worth around €900 million ($1 billion).

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