EU antitrust authorities have approved 3.2 billion euros ($3.5 billion) in subsidies aimed at helping Europe strengthen its backward competitiveness in the battery industry.
The 3.2 billion euro subsidy will come from seven EU member countries, namely Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Finland and Sweden, to support research on lithium-ion batteries across the European continent. The main areas of concern will include extraction and processing of raw materials, creation of advanced chemical materials, battery and module design, system integration and battery recycling.
The research project aims to support innovative and sustainable development of liquid electrolytes and solid-state batteries, with a focus on safety and environmental concerns. Participants will work to promote the development of more durable batteries that will charge faster than current products.
The European Commission said the injection would help generate an additional 5 billion euros of private investment. Battery production is an important industrial sector in Europe, and the promotion of subsidies is part of a broader push by France and Germany to ensure that Europe does not lag behind in the transition from natural gas combustible gases to electric engines.
In particular, Europe is concerned about growing dependence on EV battery production, while Asia currently produces about 80% of the world’s EV Batteries, while Europe produces only 3%. The plan will be completed in 2031, and the subprojects will be completed on different schedules.
“Battery production in Europe is of strategic importance to our economy and society because of its potential in clean travel and energy, job creation, sustainability and competitiveness, which is suitable for Europe in the digital age,” said Margrethe vestager, senior official of the EU antitrust authority
Vestager said the approval of state aid would ensure the smooth implementation of the project. As a designated important project with common interests in Europe, the plan is described by the European Commission as “ambitious and full of risks”, aiming to “achieve transcendental innovation” in the whole battery value chain and create strong industrial value at the same time.
Following the launch of the European battery alliance in late 2017, these new projects will have 17 industry participants working with more than 70 external partners. They will work together to develop innovative technologies and supportive policies to ensure that the EU benefits from growing battery demand.
“The battery value chain is Europe’s strategic value chain for the future, especially in terms of clean and low emission mobility,” the Commission concluded Vestager pointed out that the EU must increase investment and innovation to develop a comprehensive industrial policy strategy. “There is a positive spillover effect across Europe. Ultimately, all of these activities will contribute to the ecosystem development of the battery industry at the EU level. “
Although the European Commission’s antitrust agency has been strictly opposed to state subsidies before, in 2014, it gave more leeway to enable countries to support strategic transnational projects. The subsidized companies will focus on four main areas: raw and advanced materials, batteries and modules, battery systems and reuse, recycling and refining.
Editor in charge: WV