Dissatisfaction with lithium-ion battery technology is gaining traction among the industry, with the issues of safety, energy density and cost cited as significant factors.
The concerns were raised during a panel discussion at the Battery and Energy Storage conference in Birmingham, UK, last week.
Matt Welch, who chaired the panel, said one of the topics that had been brought up during the two day conference was the dissatisfaction with lithium-ion.
He said: “When it comes to looking at European initiatives to build lithium-ion does it really make sense?
“A lot of people see it as the future but obviously we have different thoughts on where to go with that.”
Panellist David Brown, CEO of Broadbit Batteries, said it didn’t make sense for Europe to commit itself to lithium-ion because Asia had been making lithium-ion batteries for 30 years and knew much better how to do it than we do here in the west.
“The best we can do is to copy the technology by bringing people over from Asia. I think Europe has to look to the next thing. Europe has to have a lead to compete. Being a follower is not the place for Europe.”
Europe is committed to building lithium-ion gigafactories as part of the drive towards net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and this will continue as demand for electric vehicles batteries grows.
European firm Northvolt, which is working to establish a 1GWh facility, has recruited 30 people from Korea and Japan to make batteries, according to Brown.
A number of Asian firms have already built or announced plans for gigafactories in Europe. They include: Chinese firms CATL (14GWh) and Svolt Energy Technology (20GWh); South Korean firms Samsung SDI (2.5GWh), LG Chem (4GWh)and SK Innovation (7.5GWh).