Why Europe needs to act now
Technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change are vital for Europe and the world, and present opportunities for the European research and industrial communities. Batteries are among the key technologies to achieve a deep decarbonization of the European energy system, notably in the transport sector (with electro-mobility) and in the electric power sector (with the storage of intermittent renewable energy sources).
In the transport sector, Europe’s position as a global leader in the automotive market is being seriously challenged by the transition to electro-mobility in which batteries are estimated to count for up to 40% of the value of the car. The battery market, dominated by lithium-ion technology, is clearly strategic for Europe in many aspects.
In the near future, new generations of ultrahigh-performance, reliable, safe, sustainable and affordable batteries will be necessary, primarily driven by the accelerating transition to electric vehicles. Competition to develop future battery technologies is already high but still very much open.
This offer a technological opportunity for Europe which can build on its scientific and industrial assets to become a major player in a future battery market estimated to reach up to €250 billion a year from 2025 onwards. It is also an industrial and economic opportunity, with the possible creation of 4-5 million jobs.
Substantial investments in research are required to encourage a cross-sectoral holistic approach in future battery technologies and can provide a long term competitive advantage to the European industry.
Developing breakthrough battery technologies will require truly immense multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral research efforts. Europe has the potential to take the lead, thanks to very active R&I communities covering the full, wide range of required disciplines:
- chemistry, electrochemistry, physics, materials science, quantum chemistry,
- computational design, artificial intelligence and deep learning, big data analytics, information and communication technologies
- manufacturing and recycling technologies, mechanical/electrical engineering, systems engineering, industry digitisation,
- techno-economic assessment, and social sciences and humanities.
Europe can gain a decisive advantage by efficiently linking and channelling these disciplines in a large-scale joint effort. The long term challenge-based approach of the BATTERY 2030+ initiative seeks to overcome the risk of fragmented European action mostly driven by short to medium term industrial priorities.
To become a world leader in the battery industry across the full value chain, Europe needs to act now. It should support short- to-medium-term industrial and research initiatives, while at the same time launching a long-term ambitious research programme focused on highly disruptive battery technologies – BATTERY 2030+, that can provide a competitive advantage to Europe and open new industrial opportunities for smart high performing batteries ‘invented and made in Europe’.