WHAT IS IPCEI?
IPCEI is the abbreviation of „Important Project of Common European Interest“. It’s a transnational project with an important contribution to the growth, employment and competitiveness of the European Union industry and economy funded by state aid.
According to the EU Commission, IPCEIs make it possible to bring together knowledge, expertise, financial resources and economic actors throughout the Union, so as to overcome important market or systemic failures and societal challenges which could not otherwise be addressed. They are designed to bring together public and private sectors to undertake large-scale projects that provide significant benefits to the Union and its citizens.
The social and economic policy significance of a topic justifies state funding that goes beyond the scope of less extensive support, such as pure research funding. This requires an examination and approval by the EU Commission under state aid law.
A two-part IPCEI has been implemented to promote battery production: the IPCEI on Batteries and the IPCEI European Battery Innovation (EuBatIn). Both IPCEIs have in common that their participants represent the complete value chain, from material through the cells to the battery system and the final step of recycling. At the same time, there is a high degree of networking between the companies themselves and the two IPCEIs.
What is IPCEI on Batteries?
This Integrated Project takes place in the context of challenges to be tackled by the EU to develop a competitive, innovative and sustainable battery value chain in the EU. It contributes to several objectives of the EU.
This Integrated Project indeed brings together key European players headquartered in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden, operating in different Member States of the EU, and at various level of the battery value chain, from mining to repurposing, recycling and refining, through development of advanced materials and manufacturing of cells, modules and systems as well as dedicated software and testing systems and solutions. In line with the IPCEI Communication, the Integrated Project gathers research, development and innovation (RDI) and first industrial deployment (FID) of battery components in a coordinated way.
The overall objectives of this Integrated Project are the following:
- innovation objective: developing advanced and disruptive technologies in the sector of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries (liquid electrolyte and solid-state) meeting cost, performance and safety targets that are not currently available, through research in advanced materials, battery chemistries, advanced cell and module design, advanced production/manufacturing processes, power electronics and battery repurposing, recycling and refining;
- sustainability objective: supporting the environmental sustainability of the Li-ion battery (liquid electrolyte and solid-state) value chain with a significant reduced CO2 footprint, a reduction in the waste generated along the battery production process, a design for reparability, dismantling and net positive value recycling and refining, as well as an enhanced tracking system of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of the supply chain, therefore participating to the clean energy transition;
- societal objective: supporting new jobs and growth through the development and strengthening of a highly skilled staff, with the objective to mitigate the social impact of the clean energy transition and to attract in the EU world class experts in batteries development;
- dissemination and cooperation objective: contributing to the development of an entire ecosystem on batteries at EU level by collaborating with research technology organizations (RTOs) and within clusters across the EU;
- upscaling objective: bringing key industry players and national authorities together to create a full-competitive value chain in the EU which will produce raw and advanced materials, cells, modules and battery systems on a large scale, i.e. designed for mass production, and allowing for repurposing, recycling and refining at-scale.
What is IPCEI European Battery Innovation (EuBatIn)?
As part of two IPCEIs, "EuBatIn - European Battery Innovation" is coordinated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) with the support of VDI/VDE-IT. The required aid approval by the EU Commission was granted in early 2021. 12 Member States and more than 40 companies are gathered under the European umbrella.
In pan-European cooperation, the European countries are enabled to derive maximum benefit from the complete battery value chain by supporting national research and innovation efforts and the industrial pilot production based on them. This requires close cooperation between companies, coordination with a view to bringing innovations to market more quickly, and the interaction of private and public sector financial instruments, which are realised in IPCEI. This is taking Europe a big step forward in clean mobility and energy, creating jobs, sustainability and competitiveness.
The project participants and their partners are concentrating their work on four workstreams:
- Raw and advanced materials: This involves the development of sustainable innovative processes for the extraction, refining and purification of ores in order to obtain high-purity raw materials. With regard to advanced materials (such as cathodes, anodes and electrolytes), the aim is to improve existing materials and develop new materials for innovative battery cells.
- Battery cells: The focus here is on developing innovative battery cells and modules that meet the safety and performance requirements of the automotive industry and other applications (e.g. stationary energy storage and power tools).
- Battery systems: This involves developing innovative battery systems including battery management systems (software and algorithms) and innovative test methods.
- Recycling and sustainability: The goal here is to develop safe and innovative methods for the collection, dismantling, reuse, conversion and refining of recyclable materials.