ECS will take place in Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden This commitment to compassionate science and a sustainable future helps make Gothenburg a very attractive destination for our attendees. As the meeting takes place at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers Hotel, participants are well positioned to enjoy the city’s many delights!
The ECS Meeting brings together the most active researchers in academia, government, and industry—professionals and students—to engage, discuss, and innovate in the areas of electrochemistry and solid state science and related technologies. This is the premier destination for industry professionals to experience five days of learning, technical presentations, business development, and networking opportunities.
In 2024, TRA takes place in Dublin, Ireland from the 15th – 18th of April. Transport Research Arena (TRA) is the foremost European transport event that covers all transport modes and all aspects of mobility.
TRA offers a great venue for researchers, policy makers and industry representatives to get together and contribute to the discussion on how research and innovation can reshape the transport and mobility system. The conference provides a unique opportunity to hear about mobility trends in different parts of Europe, learn from achievements in industry as well as share best practices of policies and deployments.
BEPA sixth General Assembly of the Batteries European Partnership Association took place on Tuesday 16 May 2023, in a hybrid gathering held in Brussels and online. Over 148 participants attended the event, including 75 online attendees while 73 people seized the opportunity to meet face-to-face at the Brussels Renaissance Hotel.
During the meeting, the BEPA members voted in favour of welcoming 14 new members into the association. Also, members voted on the open Executive Board position for the raw material sector and for the Association Delegation position for the other applications sector. Congratulations to Madeleine Scheidema and Belén Neira for being elected for these roles.
Following the welcoming remarks from BEPA President Michael Lippert, Secretary General Phillippe Jacques and other members of the BEPA Executive Board provided some updates on BEPA’s activities in 2023, the battery calls have proven their popularity with 70 proposals submitted for only 17 expected battery projects, which will see around 77 million EUR from the Horizon Europe budget being earmarked for battery R&I. Other highlights included the changes of the ’24 work programme, with the topic on material acceleration platform for sustainable batteries being reintroduced and the virtual testing of battery aging topic being postponed to ’25. The next steps of the BATT4EU’s strategic research and innovation agenda (SRIA) were also presented by giving an the overview of the timeline and agenda of developing the document. BEPA is in charge of coordination of the joint working groups for defining the strategic research topics and their prioritization in later steps. The work on SRIA will be finalised in September 2021, and will be followed by drafting the Horizon Europe Work Programme in fall.
Seeing the expressed interest of BEPA members to have more networking events in person, better links with other Horizon Europe Partnerships and workshops with national and regional clusters, Philippe Jacques presented the actions taken by BEPA. Among those mentioned was the organization of an additional day attached to the Battery Innovation Days, which will take place on 16 November to discuss innovation uptake, will include a matchmaking event and a clustering event in collaboration with Bettery2030+. BEPA has already set a date for a joint workshop with nominated experts from the Europe Rail JU and with the Zero-Emission Waterborne Transport to align research targets. Additional events are planned to create new partnerships and initiatives among them; a meeting with the national and regional coordination group to set up a structure that will allow for more continuous and meaningful exchange between initiatives on EU and member state level.
The GA was followed by a workshop on ‘European Competitiveness’ with a presentation from Andrea Casas Ocampo from CiC Energigune who provided an overview of the global changes in the battery landscape, in her words “countries are on a ‘race’ for the development of technologies such as batteries”. Jesse Terry from BEPA presented the Green Industrial Plan and other European measures to address the European supply chain vulnerabilities in the battery landscape, and measures to build up a stronger European industrial base.
The presentations were followed by two panels assessing the state of European battery competitiveness in light of the global wave of public incentives such as the Inflation Reduction Act. The first panel focused on the needs of the European battery industry sector, in such a rapidly growing sector, the industrial and innovation policies come to be indistinguishable sometimes, and constant dialogue between the many industrial, research and political stakeholders is for us the key to, as Kurt Vandeputte, Umicore puts it, outsmarting our way out of the hurdles. And we at BEPA – Batteries European Partnership Association will keep providing that platform for our members.
The second panel discussion focused on how R&I can keep the European battery value chain competitive, the panellists focused on the potential impact of the trend on the R&I ecosystem, and the mechanisms that innovation policies of the EU can keep the industry still thriving. Role of the Horizon Europe in stimulating competition in battery sector, demands of automotive sector from the battery community, and the importance of training skilled workforce were among the other discussed issues.
Registrations will open in May.
The European Union’s energy sector has gone through significant changes over the last few years, with the rush towards climate neutrality leading to many of the first regulatory initiatives to overhaul the industry. More recently however, it is being challenged by a new series of regulations looking to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels, and increase strategic autonomy. The shock of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 sent reverberations across much of the world, and for Europe it was also a wakeup call for its dependency on imports for strategic resources. The weaponization of energy and vulnerability of the energy system led to an energy crisis, with soaring prices and a volatile energy market. To alleviate this and to avoid feeding the Russian economy, the EU looked to quickly reduce its consumption of Russian fossil fuels, with the goal to be rid of them entirely.
The first response of the EU was the REPowerEU plan, providing financial and legal measures to build new infrastructure to save energy and produce more clean energy, as well as diversify energy supplies. The plan sets the pathway to be energy independent from Russian fossil fuels before 2030, with short term measures to have an instant impact, and medium term measures to be implemented by 2027. As part of its clean energy focus, REPowerEU aims to increase renewable energy generation capacities to 1,236 GW by 2030, increasing the targets for renewables by 5% from the fit for 55 package. This includes a frontloaded boost for solar photovoltaic energy to quickly increase capacities to nearly double.
In August 2022 the United States adopted the Inflation Reduction Act, seeking to improve US economic competitiveness, innovation and industry. The largest part of this is invested in clean energy, with $370 billion of tax incentives, grants and loan guarantees. These make the US a very attractive option for new investments, and now planned investments of gigafactories are under threat of leaving to the US. As explained in a European Battery Alliance discussion paper , the IRA not only stimulates the production and deployment of zero emission vehicles, it also directs investment further upstream to the rest of the supply chain with targets for raw materials and battery components made in North America. The incentives now provided in the US plus the already significantly cheaper prices of battery production in China hinders new investments into the European battery value chain, due to a significant loss of cost-competitiveness.
As Europe’s battery industry is all too aware, it is not only fossil fuel that Europe depends on foreign imports. Europe has precious little of its own critical raw materials (CRMs) that are crucial for the production of batteries, among many other industrial applications. These are needed for the transition towards climate neutrality and in the short term, to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. For this reason the EU introduced the Green Deal Industrial Plan in February 2023.
This also included three key regulatory proposals, the Critical Raw Materials Act, the Net-Zero Industry Act and the reform of the electricity market design. These initiatives aim to reduce dependency on imports for CRMs, fast-track the deployment of industrial technologies key to meeting climate neutrality goals, and to enable consumers to benefit from increased use and lower costs of renewable energy, respectively. The three regulations must now be discussed and agreed upon by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union before it will enter into force, so some amendments are likely on many of the finer details.
The trio of regulations under the Green Deal Industrial plan cover the full battery value chain, with the Critical Raw Materials Act covering beginning and end of life, the Net Zero Industry Act covering production and manufacturing, and the Electricity Market Reform addressing the regulatory and market aspect for stationary storage applications.
While the European battery ecosystem is growing, it still does not have the production capacity to meet the rising demand or achieve its targets. The greatest gaps in capacity are from raw material refining, and for cathode and anode production, which relies very heavily on imports. The ECRMA and NZIA aim to address these gaps as well as address the risk of planned investments not materializing, due to better incentives provided elsewhere, notably after the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States.
The Critical Raw Materials Act aims to provide support for the extraction and processing of CRMs in Europe, which can be an opportunity for the battery raw material sector. The fast tracking of lengthy and costly permitting processes and barriers can encourage more investment in exploiting the raw materials available in Europe. Sustainability and circularity are just as much of a focus however, with emphasis given to recycling and reuse technologies. The regulation could help grow the market and technological maturity of battery recycling, as well as second life use, in order to maximize the value and use of existing raw materials and reduce the need for new materials. This could be good news for ongoing BATT4EU projects covering end of life use of battery materials, which can likely stand to benefit from these measures upon completion and eventual entrance to market. It should be noted that these benefits are for strategic projects, therefore implementation and selection of these projects is up to each member state.
The CRM act and the NZIA go hand in hand to cover the value chain and contain generally similar measures. Both are aimed at streamlining permitting procedures and bypassing regulatory barriers, and both leave a lot of the implementation up to member states. This is in contrast to the IRA in the US, which is more focused on financial incentive through state aid. The focus is to increase strategic autonomy by boosting domestic production and reducing import dependence, rather than funding the outright deployment of clean energy to meet goals. In other words, it aims to raise the floor rather than the ceiling, by building up the domestic base of raw material production and manufacturing capacity. The EU’s high land and permitting costs, along with highest worldwide level of health, safety, environment and employment legislation for production are addressed by NZIA and its strategic project status measures, helping to bridge the gap created by the IRA and improve investment attractiveness.
Addressing the gap in skills and education of the workforce has also been taken seriously, as considerable parts of both CRMA and NZIA cover this. This is something BEPA and the other initiatives of the European battery R&I community have consistently aimed to highlight in different sessions, like the EU Sustainable Energy Week and the Battery Innovation Days, so seeing this need acknowledged and addressed at the EU level is encouraging. Moreover, the accompanying texts of the NZIA in particular highlight the European Battery Alliance, not only as a source for much of the input and information about the battery aspects of the regulation, but also a success story of a European skills academy, which will act as the basis for the new ones to be created.
The electricity market design reform brings more opportunities for stationary storage, due to its focus on flexibility, demand response, storage and renewable energy deployment. The changes to tariff methodology incentivize system operators to procure flexibility options, information on grid flexibility needs, and the capacity mechanisms to support this growth. These measures help the business case for stationary energy storage, and incentivize the development of more flexibility units for both front of meter and behind the meter applications. The changes to contract length and targets also aim to give more investment certainty, following one of the aims of the reform to prevent short sensitivity and variance of prices. The setting of energy storage targets by the member states is also encouraging for the stationary storage market, as they can provide a regularly updated forecast of the capacity needs to be filled. It should be noted however that these targets are up to the national regulators, as well as implementation to reach them, such as reward or punishment for achieving or missing the set targets.
Overall, the regulations in the Green Deal Industrial plan contain meaningful actions to increase European strategic autonomy, and make the EU more attractive and competitive for investment. The battery ecosystem likely stands to benefit from streamlined permitting for strategic projects, regulatory sandboxes for innovative technologies, and a focus on skills development. Measures across the three regulations stretch across the value chain, and can help build up a localized base, with prospects for growth and development, and entrance to market.
However, as mentioned by CIC EnergiGUNE in their analysis of the NZIA in comparison to funding schemes like the IRA, it is still too early to know how all these tools will be deployed in each of the member countries and what the final effect will be. Industry players have already raised concerns that additional financial support to the battery industry is needed and the EBA is working on a set of emergency measures to boost European competitiveness. After the EBA ministerial meeting on March 1st 2023, Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Board Member for Technology was quoted as saying:
‘’We need immediately an “IRA matching clause” in Europe including a revised Public State Aid Program. This must be accompanied by competitive prices for sustainable Energy which is crucial for the further implementation of the strategic Battery Industry in the EU. Above all, speed is most of what we need!’’.
BEPA will continue to support the competitiveness of the European battery industry and looks forward to the opportunity for its current and future projects to benefit from the regulations in the green deal industrial plan. We will further explore the issue of European competitiveness in the battery landscape and the role at a workshop for our members in the afternoon after our General Assembly, which will be organized on May 16.
 OECD (2023), Environmental tax (indicator). doi: 10.1787/5a287eac-en.
The Batt4EU Partnership Board has decided to insert a new topic into the Batt4EU Work Programme ’24 to further the development of a materials acceleration platform for sustainable batteries.
This topic was foreseen to be funded in the Work Programme ’22, but no project was awarded. The budget foreseen for this project in the WP ’22 has been used to fund projects and other parts of the battery value chain like recycling and battery systems for mobility. The topic on the material acceleration platform has been reinstated in the WP’24 as private and public partners see this topic as a cornerstone for the development of a competitive European value chain. You can find more information on this topic in the updated Horizon Europe Work Programme for 2023-2024.
While this change means that there is less overall funding for the battery recycling topic in the WP’24, the budget per project has been increased. Furthermore, the topic ‘Accelerated multi-physical and virtual testing for battery aging, reliability and safety evaluation” will be postponed to a later Work Programme. The members of the Partnership Board understand that this allows for more time to build on the results of the ongoing Batt4EU projects on testing, which can benefit the future topic.
As the world contemplates ways to limit the rise of global temperatures by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), the power generation sector remains a leading player in the achievement of this goal.
Europe has made significant strides in reducing emissions from electricity generation, achieving almost 40% reduction since 1990; yet, it still remains a significant contributor to CO2 emissions, accounting for almost 20% of the total. On the global stage, however, the power generation industry has increased its contribution to emissions by a staggering 87% since 1990, making it the biggest single source of CO2 emissions, responsible for 41% of global emissions.
EU’s objective to clean variable renewable energy sources (VRE) as part of the energy transition has been subject to considerations over the past decade. The latest development was the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which led the member states to increase their target from 40% to 45% as part of the REPowerEU Plan.
In 2020, 22% of the total EU electricity came from VREs. However, further rise in this value is a multi-faceted challenge. As pricing, regulatory structure and infrastructure of the conventional grid should all be subjected to widespread update, the variability and intermittency of solar and wind energy requires a reliable source of storage that ensures the stability and reliability of generation. Curtailment, the practice of reducing renewable energy generation due to oversupply or grid constraints, remains unexploited in many countries. But, as more renewable energy sources are added to the grid, curtailment rates will likely increase. For example, Germany’s renewable energy curtailment rate was only 2.4% in 2020, and rose to 4% in 2022. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that curtailment could range from 2% to 12% of total renewable energy generation in countries with high shares of variable renewables. With such figures, spread of installations of solar and wind will not make up for its generation waste, making VREs lose their cost leverage and investment return of the projects will start to trend downward.
Calculating the right amount of storage needed is complex and dependent on several factors, such as location of demand, turbines and panels, type of service, transmission infrastructure and market design. European Association of Storage of Energy (EASE) estimates that by 2030, Europe needs 200 GW of energy storage to be able to achieve the goals set by REPowerEU. Going there from current installed capacity of 60 GW implies almost 20% of Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), while at the moment the industry is growing by 1%. This is a huge gap to be covered. Based on the analysis by Albertus et al., adaption of 45% of solar and wind requires storage systems that are capable of continuous discharge for 1 to 5 hours, and reaching to 100% in 2050 demands storage at the timescale of seasons. While the exact numbers are dependent on the specific markets, the study draws a semi-quantitative picture of how sharply required storage durations increase with growth in share of renewables.
Assessing the feasibility of grid storage projects is no easy feat. Their large scale and complex service require a meticulous examination of several parameters beyond mere cost analysis. A thorough technical appraisal of the system’s capabilities is required to ensure its fitness for specific tasks while meeting all necessary regulatory requirements. Additionally, several ESG measures such as community acceptance, permitting and licensing requirements, and local environmental impacts must be thoroughly addressed. The progress timeline of the Moss Landing Energy Storage project is a good example of the hiccups that potentially risk the storage projects. Consequently, dismissing the future of energy storage as a one-size-fits-all solution is a unwary move. The dynamic nature of renewable-intensive power generation demands a diverse range of mechanical, chemical, thermal, and electrochemical solutions to be employed based on specific circumstances.
As for electrochemical energy storage systems (ESS) for instance, one of the main advantages (especially lithium-ion batteries), is that they have a very fast response. This feature makes them the favourite for Transmission System Operators (TSO) from the operational point of view. Also compared to other mechanical or thermal systems, the required land footprint is considerably lower. Despite such merits, cost will be the main factor that determines further deployment of batteries for grid storage.
Globally, electrochemical storage for short durations (<6 hours) has been growing mostly by using lithium-ion batteries. Recently one of the biggest European battery storage projects with the capacity of 25MW/100MWh has initiated the operation in Belgium using LIBs.
The break-even cost for under 6 hours of storage allows for profitability of LIBs employed in several markets. On the other hand, even LIB’s cost and performance properties like 100 $/kWh of capital cost, >90% round trip efficiency and >10 years of lifetime do not make them bankable projects for a series of short-term markets and definitely longer (>8hr) duration storage. Based on a study, despite almost three-fold drop in levelized cost of storage for LIBs in the past decade, the gap with the cost of wind and solar energy is still considerable. Another study shows that for a battery with performance characteristics of lithium-ion battery, the break-even cost for over 8 hours of storage exceeds the cost only for the purchase of its active material.
But what is exactly the cost target for batteries in storage application? Half of the answer depends on the payment that storage services receive.
As mentioned before, payment structures for grid services can be complex and vary depending on a range of factors, including regional regulations, market dynamics, and specific agreements between storage companies and grid operators. In general, short-term services such as voltage stabilization may be paid at a higher rate than long-term services like arbitrage. This is because short-term services often require more immediate and responsive actions, and may be more valuable to the grid in certain situations, such as during periods of high demand or sudden fluctuations in supply. In contrast, long-term services like arbitrage may be less time-sensitive and may provide more stable revenue streams over a longer period of time.
The other half of the puzzle is that for battery storage to be economically viable, the cost per unit of energy expended by storage companies must not surpass the compensation received from grid operators. Considering the cheap electricity of both renewable and non-renewable generation and the resulting competitive advantage, storage systems must be cost-effective both in terms of capital and operational expenditure.
Within the battery research community, there are two common approaches that are used to solve that concern: the first one is to develop chemistries with very low material cost and established supply chain that, despite the hurdles in scaled manufacturing, once deployed at large capacities, promise a competitive floor cost. The other is to de-couple properties of the storage system in terms of power and energy.
The latter is mostly targeted by employing redox-flow batteries. In these systems the scaling for energy content is independent from its power capability. Since the former is measured by the amount of redox species, usually stored in scalable tanks. And the cost and magnitude of the latter is tuned by the electrolyte flow rate, size and design of the reaction stack. The most popular chemistry for this system configuration is vanadium Oxides.
Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB) have been first introduced in 1980s and since then several aspects of system has been significantly improved, both chemically and mechanically, among them issues with redox particles’ crossing over membrane (and the resulting lower efficiency) and capacity fading. However, the main hurdle for this technology remains to be its main component, vanadium. The price of vanadium is volatile, and it is almost entirely sourced from outside Europe. Considering the significant required growth in sourcing of VRFBs to be the dominant ESS of the future, this technology will be in margins if they don’t have a seat in future energy materials discussions. Flow batteries Europe has taken the role of representing European community of flow battery stakeholders both in industry and academia. It has recently estimated that Europe will need almost 20GW/200 GWh of this technology to meet its net-zero goals.
Another class of flow batteries are the family of organic redox materials. Here the motive is the very low floor cost associated these materials, that will be the majority of cost share, if the technology is employed at vast scale and daily storage.
Sodium-ion batteries also have gained a great momentum in the last couple of years. An alternative to the lithium-ion chemistry that use the same manufacturing process, but comes with a considerably lower material price, because of abundance and low process cost of sodium and other elements composing its electrodes. This is particularly attractive in Europe, as sodium can be found easily and would reduce the need for imported materials. A new wave of commercialisation of these systems has been initiated by Chinese companies, in particular announcements by CATL for mass production of sodium-ion cells in 2023 and HiNa Battery’s products being used by OEMs. The average 40% lower energy density of these systems is not a crucial issue for stationary applications (at least for front-of-the-meter), yet efforts are underway of rapid improvement to alleviate the problems with low energy density. Faradion and ALTRIS are the main European Companies developing Na-ion systems. The former with the goal of employing the technology in mobility sector, while the latter’s Prussian blue chemistry, that has lower power density compared to layered structure cathode of Faradion, is currently seen to be better suited for stationary storage.
Another viable group of chemistry candidates are metal-air batteries. The heightened interest in such systems has arisen following the success of Form Energy, a producer of Iron-air battery, to raise a new series of funding from several investors, among them early investors in Tesla. Because of using air as the negative electrode, a cheap metal on the negative side can secure the cost leverage of chemistry, but the design and manufacturing of such systems are still challenging. A right trade-off between low marginal cost of a high duration/ large capacity project and low cycling efficiency, can make the economic case of these systems.
Just recently, the European Commission published a set of extended recommendations to the member states on energy storage, demonstrating the EU’s awareness on the central role that storage will play in a de-carbonized grid. Here are some of the key recommendations:
1. Develop comprehensive energy storage strategies at national and regional levels that are tailored to local energy needs and resources.
2. Eliminate regulatory barriers that hinder the deployment of energy storage technologies, and create an investment-friendly environment that encourages the development of new projects.
3. Support research and innovation in energy storage technologies to lower costs, improve performance, and increase the sustainability of energy storage systems.
4. Promote the integration of energy storage technologies into the wider energy system through initiatives such as smart grids and demand response programs.
5. Increase public awareness of the benefits of energy storage, including enhanced energy security, lower carbon emissions, and reduced energy costs for consumers.
Following up on the EU response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, these recommendations add on to the EU’s efforts to significantly increase its preparedness for winter – with new rules on winter gas storage and the encouragement for seasonal and long duration storage especially for the winter months. As highlighted in the paper on the Electricity Market Design Revision by EASE, there are several steps that both member states and the EU can take to ensure the timely uptake of long duration storage considering the generally low TRL level of such technology.
To take advantage of such policies, long duration storage technologies must continue to develop to become not only a reliable an efficient solution, but also a cost-effective one. Just the European Commission recommendations encourage member states to support R&I on this technology, Europe’s battery industry must do the same, both independently and with the support of the EU, from which BEPA can play a key role.
Ensuring the sustainable application of batteries in the future of renewable-based generation is set in the BATT4EU agenda. Accordingly, the working group of stationary application is the main reference for the corresponding activities. Engaged with the advanced materials, raw materials and emerging technology working group experts, BEPA’s integrated working groups have a decisive role in informing European policy makers about the strategic importance and demands to unlock the research and innovation needs for electrochemical grid storage.
As for the 2024 Horizon Europe topic on long duration storage, the call aims to develop non-Li batteries that are sustainable and safe, with energy density and power metrics suitable for stationary energy storage applications. Projects must aim to achieve credible projected storage costs of less than €0.05/kWh/cycle by 2030, with a projected cycling life of 5,000 cycles under typical operating conditions. The battery system should work safely and efficiently in a wide range of ambient conditions and have a defined concept for sustainable, circular manufacturing with recognized economic, environmental, social, and ethical metrics.
The proposed projects will contribute to the development of a stronger, more resilient, competitive, and green European economic base by reducing strategic dependencies for critical raw materials. They will demonstrate a clear route to a feasible, European-based supply chain that reduces reliance on critical raw materials and substitutes them with abundant, non-toxic, and inherently safe raw materials. The stationary storage applications may range from small-scale domestic behind-the-meter units to large utility-scale front-of-meter installations.
The management conference with accompanying exhibition brings together the entire value system of battery technologies: Across industries, users, battery system & cell manufacturers and their suppliers will spend two days exchanging ideas and information, making new contacts and discussing how the industrial ramp-up with a high market share of battery-driven solutions in Europe can be achieved.
Around 700 participants, 80 sponsors & exhibitors and 70 speakers are expected on-site.
BEPA is proud supporter of the Battery 2030+’s 3rd Annual Conference happening on May 9-10th, a two-day event full of insightful discussions on battery research!
BATTERY 2030+ is a European large-scale research initiative reinventing the way we invent batteries.
The 3rd Annual Conference will be held physically on May 9-10th in Uppsala, giving you the opportunity to network with key stakeholders of the battery research community and engage in meaningful discussions to empower green innovation in this field!
This Annual Conference will include presentations from industry, a keynote session by Clare Gray from the University of Cambridge, Young scientists’ sessions, poster pitches and poster sessions as well as lots of networking opportunities! In addition, in this Annual Conference we’ll present the new research projects joining the initiative in 2023.