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30 Jun 2020, 13:38
Kerstine Appunn

Germany bankrolls battery producer VARTA with 300 million euros

Clean Energy Wire / Süddeutsche Zeitung

Germany’s federal government and the states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria will fund battery cell production for use in cars and industry by company VARTA with 300 million euros, the economy and energy ministry announced today. Energy minister Peter Altmaier said that new battery cells should have a better CO2 footprint and use raw materials more sustainably. Germany and the EU want to strengthen domestic battery technology innovation and production to ensure the success and competitiveness of the automobile industry and other related technologies.

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) is funding two major projects for battery cell innovation. They are implemented as so-called "Important Projects of Common European Interest" (IPCEI) and include projects from several European member states. VARTA is part of the first IPCEI approved by the European Commission under state aid rules. Here, 17 companies from a total of seven member states are working together. In February 2020, BASF announced that it would start producing battery cathode materials for 400,000 electric cars per year in the German state of Brandenburg.

Meanwhile automobile companies Daimler and Bosch are pushing ahead with new production facilities for fuel cells, reports Stafan Mayr in Süddeutsche Zeitung. After “German manufacturers slept through the development of battery cells and are now dependent on Asian suppliers”, Daimler wants to be ahead of the curve and plans to produce fuel cells in series for trucks, the author writes. The company plans to enter into a fuel cell joint venture with the Volvo Group before the end of 2020 and additionally wants to sell stationary fuel cells that can serve as emergency power generators. Bosch also wants sell its first cells by 2023 to be used in cars and trucks.

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