The European Commission has approved a second Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) to support innovation throughout the battery value chain. The European Battery Innovation project calls for 12 member states—Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden—to provide up to €2.9 billion in funding in the coming years.
The project complements an earlier battery-related IPCEI that the Commission approved in December 2019. The public funding is expected to unlock an additional €9 billion in private investments.
The project will cover the entire battery value chain, from extraction of raw materials to the manufacturing of battery cells and packs to recycling and disposal in a circular economy. It is expected to catalyze set of new technological breakthroughs, including different cell chemistries and novel production processes.
The project will involve 42 direct participants, including small and medium-size enterprises and startups. Some of the more familiar names include BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Tesla, Rimac, Northvolt, Enel X, Valmet, Fortum and Hydrometal. The direct participants will cooperate with over 150 external partners such as universities and research organizations. The overall project is expected to be completed by 2028 (with differing timelines for each sub-project).
“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 sense for European governments to come together to support industry in developing more innovative and sustainable batteries,” said Executive VP Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy. “Today’s project is an example of how competition policy works hand in hand with innovation and competitiveness by enabling breakthrough innovation while ensuring that limited public resources are used to crowd in private investment. The public has to benefit from its investment, which is why companies receiving aid have to generate positive spillover effects across the EU.”
“Thanks to its focus on a next generation of batteries, this strong pan-European project will help revolutionize the battery market,” said VP Maroš Šefčovič, in charge of the European Battery Alliance. “It will also boost our strategic autonomy in a sector vital for Europe’s green transition and long-term resilience. Three years ago, the EU battery industry was hardly on the map. Today, Europe is a global battery hotspot. And by 2025, our actions under the European Battery Alliance will result in an industry robust [enough] to power at least six million electric cars each year.”
Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said, “By establishing a complete, decarbonized 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.”
Source: European Commission