The European Commission earlier this week approved €2.9 billion ($3.5 billion) funding by 12 member states for supporting pan-European research and innovation in the entire battery value chain.
The project called “European Battery Innovation” was jointly prepared and notified by the 12 member states of Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden. The commission has noted that the latest public funding is expected to further trigger €9 billion in private investments, three times more than the public support.
“For those massive innovation challenges for the European economy, the risks can be too big for just one Member State or one company to take alone. So, it makes good sense for European governments to come together to support the industry in developing more innovative and sustainable batteries,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of the competition policy.
The project is aimed at supporting the complete battery value chain starting from the extraction of raw materials, designing and manufacturing of battery cells, modules, and packs to their repurposing, recycling, and disposal in a circular economy with a focus on sustainability.
The funding is expected to contribute towards new technological advances from R&D on different cell chemistries and novel battery production processes in addition to other innovations along the battery value chain.
The European Commission plans to cut down greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector under the European Green Deal an ambitious plan that aims to make EU climate neutral by 2050. Batteries that are more sustainable throughout their life cycle are critical for the goals of the European Green Deal and the ambition set in it.
According to the commission, the project will involve 42 companies and 46 projects, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups with activities in one or more member states. The direct participants will closely cooperate with each other through nearly 300 collaborations envisaged, and with over 150 external partners, such as universities, research organizations, and SMEs across Europe. The overall project is expected to be completed by 2028 (with differing timelines for each sub-project).
The direct participants, supporting member states, and the different project areas are given below:
Source: European Commission
“Thanks to its focus on a next-generation of batteries, this strong pan-European project will help revolutionise the battery market. It will also boost our strategic autonomy in a sector vital for Europe's green transition and long-term resilience,” said Maroš Šefčovič, VP of European Battery Alliance.
“Our success lies in collaboration, with some 300 partnerships between industrial and scientific actors foreseen under this project alone.”
The latest funding is intended at making Europe a global battery hotspot and reducing the region's reliance on Asian markets. Sefcovic estimates, the actions under the European Battery Alliance will result in an industry robust to power at least 6 million electric cars each year.
“By establishing a complete, decarbonised and digital battery value chain in Europe, we can give our industry a competitive edge, create much-needed jobs and reduce our unwanted dependencies on third countries - in short, make us more resilient,” stated Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market.
By Shraddha Kakade
Asst. Editor, Emerging Technology News