EC calls summit to catch Europe up with China

European Commission officials have called a summit to discuss the future of battery technology — no chemistries have yet been mentioned but the clear focus will be on lithium — in a bid to drive progress following growing concerns over competitiveness with China. The summit will be held next week, on October 11.

Nicole Bockstaller, a spokesperson for energy and climate action at the commission told BESB: “The purpose of the meeting is to identify and explore opportunities to complete the gaps in the battery value chain in Europe and discuss actions needed for the EU to remain competitive/take a lead in this field.

“Our industrial policy strategy, adopted in September, highlighted the strategic importance of investments in batteries and the need to kick-start industry-led initiatives for a full battery value chain in the EU.”

The EU considers this year to be a turning point for battery development and production, with the growing number of vehicle manufacturers announcing new electric models and governments pledging to ban petrol-fuelled vehicles.

“Batteries will be important not only for e-mobility but will also be key to respond to the challenges of the EU energy union, for example for the integration of renewables into the grid,” said Bockstaller.

“It is expected that the demand for batteries will rise exponentially in the next seven to 10 years.”

“The commission sees the production of battery cells in the EU as a strategic objective and believes that major business decisions on battery cell investments need to be taken quickly,” said Bockstaller.

“The EU should act fast in a collaborative and co-ordinated fashion, by bringing together European companies from across the supply chain, to drive mass commercialization and, where possible, to share investments.”

Although no specific battery chemistries were outlined, Alistair Davidson, the ILA’s director of products and sustainability, says its new communications campaign is “focused on communicating the key technical benefits of lead batteries, and ensuring that lead batteries play a major role for future applications”.

This fits with the commission’s aim “to support industry-led initiatives and to develop measures for research, development and manufacturing of innovative battery cells in the EU, including industrial applications and recycling.”