German companies to play “major role” in second European battery cell production project
Clean Energy Wire / Handelsblatt
German companies will "play a major role" in a second European battery cell production project, announced the economy and energy ministry after a workshop with European government representatives and companies. At the workshop, it was decided which tasks along the value chain the companies involved would be responsible for. Although specific companies have not officially been named, sources close to the project told the business daily Handelsblatt that BMW, BASF, Varta and BMZ would, among others, likely be part of the consortium. The project to be implemented under the EU initiative Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) will aim to create a "functioning ecosystem" for battery cell production, involving both the processing of raw materials, the production of battery cells and their recycling. "Germany and Europe must also develop and manufacture competitive, innovative and environmentally friendly battery cells themselves in the future," said German economy minister Peter Altmaier, whose ministry has said it will provide one billion euros to set up battery cell production. A special focus will be placed on regions undergoing structural change due to the planned phase-out of coal-fired power generation in Germany by 2038.
Germany and France have been keen to develop batteries in Europe in order to avoid becoming dependent on Chinese storage systems. European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic helped launch the battery alliance in 2017 with the aim of building battery factories in time for the expected boom in electric cars in Europe. Spearheading the first initiative, which was already presented to the European Commission in June, is a French consortium that includes automaker PSA, its German unit Opel and Total subsidiary Saft.