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VW sets up another battery union for Europe

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The European Battery Union (EBU) is looking to push battery research throughout Europe with five other partners, as yet unannounced. The joint research activities of the European Battery Union will cover the entire battery value stream, from raw materials through cell technology to recycling, aiming to accumulate much broader know-how on battery cell production.

However there is also the European Battery Alliance (EBA) with 200 members looking to do the same thing, and the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) brings together battery researchers. 

“We have to do it together and we have to act now if we want to have battery production in Europe,” said Diego Pavia, CEO of InnoEnergy, as part of the EBA, which sees a market of €250b a year from 2025.

“With some 11 million tonnes of batteries expected to be discarded by 2030, this is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss,” said Emma Nehrenheim, Northvolt’s Chief Environment Officer. “It is therefore key that the EU and the industrial companies involved throughout the value chain work together to create a framework that encourages recycling and recovery efforts in the coming years as European battery production ramps up production.”

The EERA is also bringing together researchers under the Horizon 2020 programme.

“We will address the challenges of making ultra-high performance batteries,” said Kristina Edström, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Uppsala University in Sweden who is leading the Battery2030+ EERA programme. “This means establishing an acceleration platform for the discovery of new battery materials using machine learning and artificial intelligence, and especially focusing on interfaces in batteries where reactions take place that can be detrimental for battery lifetime. We will design smart functionalities down to the battery cell level, and pay particular attention to sustainability issues.”

The Battery 2030+ consortium includes five universities (Uppsala University, Politecnico di Torino, Technical University of Denmark, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, University of Münster), seven research centres (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, French National Centre for Scientific Research, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Fundacion Cidetec, National Institute of Chemistry, Slovenia, SINTEF), three industry-led associations (EMIRI, EASE, RECHARGE) and one company (Absiskey). 

VW maintains that having partners from research and industry in seven EU member states provides comprehensive research collaboration will range from raw material production, to cell technology and cell production processes and through to recycling. The research activities will also focus on the development and engineering of plant technologies allowing sustainable, climate friendly and competitive battery cell production in the European Union. 

However the ‘union’ will start in 2020, aiming to boost planned research activities and tapping into funding announced by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

battery2030.eu; www.northvolt.com

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