Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier

© BMWi/Andreas Mertens

The European Commission today approved the second major European project on battery cell production entitled "European Battery Innovation – EuBatIn" which is being coordinated by Germany. The approval allows funding support to be granted to eleven companies operating in Germany by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and to forty-two companies from twelve Member States by their respective governments. The aim is to establish a competitive, innovative and sustainable battery value chain in Germany and Europe.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said: "The approval that the European Commission has now granted for the second major European project on battery cell production too is an outstanding success and creates the critical mass for the battery ecosystem we are aiming to build in Germany and Europe. The second battery IPCEI coordinated by Germany clearly shows that the European battery value chain is becoming a reality. Germany and Europe will start to develop competitive, innovative and environmentally friendly battery cells. This will trigger extensive private investment and create sustainable new jobs for the future."

Since the beginning of 2019, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been coordinating two Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on research and development in battery cell production with the European Commission and several EU Member States. The Ministry is providing up to €3 billion to promote the development of battery cell production. German companies are playing a leading role in both projects which will trigger a total of more than €13 billion in investments in Germany alone and create several thousand skilled jobs.

The approval of the State aid clears the way for funding to be provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for the battery projects being run by ACI Systems, Alumina Systems, BMW, Cellforce Group, ElringKlinger, Liofit, Manz, Northvolt, SGL Carbon, Skeleton Technologies and Tesla. The content of the eleven funded projects covers the entire battery value chain:

  • The project undertaken by ACI Systems mainly focuses on the development of a new, sustainable technology for direct lithium extraction from brine. The technology will enable the low-carbon, water-neutral and competitive production of lithium for battery cells. In addition, the ACI Systems project is developing an innovative cleaning system for dry, selective and automated cleaning in the production of battery systems with the aim of increasing the yield through minimised waste and ensuring that the battery systems are operated safely.
  • Alumina Systems is developing battery cells based on Na/NiCl2 technology and piloting their production. This technology represents a sustainable, inherently safe and cost-effective alternative to lithium-based technologies for stationary power storage in both the private and industrial spheres.
  • Within the framework of the two battery IPCEIs, the BMW Group is developing highly innovative, sustainable and cost-efficient battery cells with optimal functionality as a key element of a European cell and battery value chain.
    After developing a next-generation Li-ion cell and an innovative battery module and battery system concept under the first IPCEI, BMW is now working within the second IPCEI to develop the generation after next of Li-ion cells, to develop and optimise process technologies and to build a prototype production plant for innovative battery modules and systems with improved recyclability. Another focus is on the validation of all-solid-state Battery (ASSB) technologies with the aim of evaluating the most promising battery technologies of the future.
  • The Cellforce Group project involves the development of sustainable high-performance battery cells that meet highest quality standards. The aim of the project is to produce cells with high energy density and simultaneous fast-charging capability for premium automotive applications.
  • ElringKlinger will contribute to a competitive European battery value chain by developing and industrialising an innovative cell housing design. The novel design will make it possible to reduce the number and complexity of components contained in these cell housings and the input of energy-intensive raw materials such as aluminum and copper. ElringKlinger will thus be making a sustainable contribution to climate-neutral European battery cell production.
  • Liofit from Kamenz will apply the principle of the circular economy to Li-ion batteries for micro-electric mobility (pedelecs, e-scooters). These batteries will be tested, dismantled, recombined and repaired while cell packs that can no longer be used will be discharged and shredded in an environmentally friendly way so that the raw materials contained in them can be reused. Battery and recycling know-how are being brought together under one roof, contributing to more climate-friendly mobility.
  • The company Manz is pursuing its "Lithium Battery Factory of the Future" project to develop highly efficient machines and processes for the fully automated production of lithium batteries of generations 3 and 4. The manufacturing processes and the associated equipment are based on a new, digitalised and cost-effective business model. Manz will thus significantly contribute to building a sustainable and competitive battery industry in Europe.
  • Northvolt is another company that seeks to support the development of a competitive European value chain for batteries. As part of its IPCEI projects, Northvolt therefore intends to implement an extensive R&D project in Sweden and is exploring options for setting up a third manufacturing facility in Germany (in addition to its production facilities in Skelleftea, Sweden, and in Salzgitter, Germany). Northvolt will now prepare the final screening of the project before a final investment decision is taken.
  • The focus of SGL Carbon’s activities under the IPCEI is to develop and industrialise new manufacturing processes and recycling concepts for innovative anode materials, which will lead to a better carbon footprint, lower use of raw materials and energy, and increased battery lifetime, thereby significantly supporting the EU’s carbon neutrality targets. In this way, the company will be making an essential contribution to building a sustainable and competitive European value chain and circular economy for lithium-ion batteries.
  • Skeleton Technologies based in Großröhrsdorf will research the development of hybrid energy storage systems that combine the advantages of lithium-ion batteries (high energy density) with the advantages of ultracapacitors (high performance, long service life). The project envisages using Industry 4.0 innovations to significantly reduce the costs of ultracapacitors and to develop new types of hybrid solutions for energy storage so that the amount of resources needed for conventional batteries can be reduced.
  • Tesla's central goal in this project is to develop and realise advanced manufacturing and recycling methods for Li-ion battery cells in order to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of battery cells as well as their unit costs. This is critical to achieving Tesla's goal of accelerating the global transformation towards sustainable energy use.

The goal of the battery cell initiative launched by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is to establish a functioning ecosystem for battery innovation and production, including the treatment of raw materials, the production of battery cells and the recycling of used batteries. Battery cells "made in Europe" are to be based on proprietary innovations and set new standards in carbon intensity and battery sustainability. The funding provided by Germany is intended to help maintain and develop innovative value creation and jobs in Germany and Europe.

The other EU Member States that are participating in the "EuBatIn" IPCEI coordinated by Germany, and whose IPCEI projects have now also been approved by the European Commission, are Spain, France, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia, Croatia and Greece. The overall "EuBatIn" project features numerous transnational partnerships and significantly supports the goal of building a European battery value creation network.