EC approves €3.2bn public support for a pan-European research and innovation project

The completion of the overall project is planned for 2031, with differing timelines for each sub-project

Photo: EPA Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President “Europe fit for the Digital Age” and Commissioner in charge of competition policy

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules an Important Project of Common European interest (“IPCEI”) jointly notified by Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden to support research and innovation in the common European priority area of batteries. 

The aforementioned Member States will provide in the coming years up to approximately €3.2bn in funding for this project, which is expected to unlock an additional €5bn in private investments.

The project will involve 17 direct participants, mostly industrial actors, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), some of which with activities in more than one Member State. The direct participants will closely cooperate with each other and with over 70 external partners, such as SMEs and public research organisations across Europe.

Demand for batteries is expected to grow very rapidly in the coming years. Forward-looking research, development and innovation policies will have a key role to enable Europe and its Member States to make the most of this transition.  Thus, the project participants and their partners will focus their work on four areas of research and development activities to deliver beyond the state-of-the-art innovation across the batteries value chain: From extraction, concentration, refining and purification of ores to generate high-purity raw materials; through development of innovative cells and modules as well as battery management software and algorithms; to designing of safe and innovative processes for collection, dismantling, repurposing, recycling and refining of recycled materials.

The project is part of the “European Battery Alliance”,  launched at the end of 2017 and is resulting from the Commission's Strategic Action Plan for Batteries, adopted in May 2018.

"Battery production in Europe is of strategic interest for our economy and society because of its potential in terms of clean mobility and energy, job creation, sustainability and competitiveness. Our Important Projects of Common European Interest smooth the way for public authorities and industries from several Member States to come together and design ambitious innovation projects with positive spill-over effects across industrial sectors and regions," Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President “Europe fit for the Digital Age” and Commissioner in charge of competition policy, stated.

"The approved aid will ensure that this important project can go ahead without unduly distorting competition,” she added.

"We have found the right recipe for our 21st century industrial policy: strong cooperation between industrial actors, concerted action to accelerate lab-to-market innovation, joined-up financial instruments from both, private and public sectors, and a fit-for-future regulatory framework to underpin a stronger European knowledge-based economy,” Maros Sefcoviv, Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, continued.

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