July 4, 2019: The European Union launched what it called the ‘research and innovation leg’ of the European Battery Alliance on June 25. This aims to co-ordinate research into all aspects, from raw materials to recycling, and integrating stationary batteries and e-mobility such as EV to grid services.
The platform has been named ‘BatteRIes Europe’, and has at its heart a determination to reach net zero carbon emissions, ‘with electrification of road transport playing a major role’.
In a speech delivered at the launch, at the European Technology and Innovation Platform in Brussels, vice-president of the EC’s Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said Bloomberg New Energy Outlook had forecast that by 2040, 57% of new vehicle sales would be battery powered.
He said the loans had been given by the European Investment Bank to companies involved in the lithium sector such as Northvolt, BASF and Umicore.
He did not mention any lead battery firms.
“Europe has traditionally been a global leader and front-runner in all aspects of automotive design and production,” he said. “If Europe is to retain its global leadership, it needs to be the lead manufacturer, and not just a customer, of sustainable batteries.”
Sefcovic also said an investment platform had been launched as ‘the first ever matchmaking platform between project promoters and investors in the field of batteries’.
“The target of this investment platform, as I understand from InnoEnergy (an organization that invests in innovation under the European Institute of Innovation and Technology) would be to have an additional deal flow of €70 billion (financial transactions) in the next three years,” he said.
“The projects that have been announced, or are in the pipeline, are all different in nature and size. They are based on each participant’s distinctive feature and this should be precisely the basis for our competitive advantage, globally. BatteRIes Europe will thrive on this diversity.”
At the annual EUROBAT forum in Berlin last month, delegates were urged to lobby their governments and policy makers to ensure the lead battery industry was also included in investments channeled into the battery industry.
Speaker Thomas Bareiss, parliamentary state secretary in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, admitted that lead batteries had not been considered in the German government’s drive towards electric vehicles.
New EUROBAT president Marc Zoellner later told BESB that it was only fair that lead technology was budgeted for. “We want to emphasize the potential that’s in our technology with advanced lead acid batteries and the projects we have heard about that need funding,” he said.