On 26th of January 2021, the Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a second Important Project of Common European Interest (“IPCEI”) to support research and innovation in the battery value chain. The project, called “European Battery Innovation” was jointly prepared and notified by Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.
The project will involve 42 direct participants, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups with activities in one or more Member States. The direct participants will closely cooperate with each other through nearly 300 collaborations envisaged, and with over 150 external partners, such as universities, research organisations and SMEs across Europe. The overall project is expected to be completed by 2028 (with differing timelines for each sub-project).
The direct participants, the Member States supporting them and the different project areas are as follows:
Also two Belgian companies form part of the second IPCEI on batteries :
- Hydrometal, an industrial recycler based in Engis, Wallonia, dealing with complex non-ferrous metal bearing residues, by-products, secondary raw materials making use of hydrometallurgical processes.
- Prayon, also based in Engis, Wallonia, a manufacturer of a of phosphate and fluorine products, used in raw materials for among others batteries for automotive applications.
A first IPCEI on batteries was approved by the commission in December 2019, in which seven member states (Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden) would provide up to approximately €3.2 billion in funding and which is expected to unlock an additional €5 bilion in private investments in a European battery value chain. Three Belgian companies form part of the first IPCEI on batteries : Umicore, Solvay and Nanocyl.
Statement by Vice-President Šefčovič on the second IPCEI on batteries in the context of the European Battery Alliance:
« …The figures show what an enormous undertaking this is:
- It involves 12 Member States from north and south, east and west;
- Injecting up to 2.9 billion euros as state aid in support of 46 projects designed by 42 companies;
- which in turn will generate three times as much, 9 billion euros, in private investment.
… First, in approving this IPCEI with an unprecedented total value of 12 billion euros, Europe is raising its game in ground-breaking research and innovation:
- This pan-European project will help revolutionize the battery market by focusing on beyond-state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries as well as on next-generation post-lithium-ion battery technologies.
- It will also foster new manufacturing processes with higher energy efficiency and lower carbon footprint across the entire value chain.
Second, the project will benefit the European economy through spillover effects beyond the participating Member States and companies:
- We foresee over 300 partnerships between industrial and scientific actors. This will lead to some 30 pilot lines and help to create more than 18-thousand new jobs across our Member States.
Overall, thanks to our actions under the European Battery Alliance, Europe is cementing its position as a global hotspot for battery investment:
- The European battery sector is defying the negative trends in our economies and we are well on track towards attaining strategic autonomy in this key industrial sector.
- By 2025, we should be manufacturing enough battery cells each year to power at least six million electric cars. Remember, just three years ago, the EU battery industry was hardly on the map in global terms.
In addition to these IPCEI batteries, the European Commission has put forward six other strategic value chains around which similar initiatives may be taken in the coming months and years:
- Clean, connected and autonomous vehicles
- Smart health
- Low CO2 emissions industry
- Hydrogen technologies and systems
- Industrial internet of things (IOT)
Recently a new and second IPCEI on microelectronics is also in prepartion. In late 2018, the European Commission approved Europe's first 'Important Project of Common European Interest' (IPCEI), which focused on microelectronics. Now a new and second IPCEI on microelectronics is undertaken in order to rebuild capacity in this field and to strengthen the competitiveness of the EU industry.
Agoria follows up these different dossiers and is in contact with the Federal Public Service Economy as well as with the regional subsidising authorities and cabinets. Agoria is also collaborating on the strategic exploration and analysis in order to map out the strengths and opportunities linked to each of the above-mentioned value chains for our country and the different regions.
The next IPCEI will be on hydrogen technologies and systems. Belgium signed a joint declaration on Thursday 17 December 2020, along with 21 other EU Member States and Norway, This IPCEI on Hydrogen will be coordinated by Germany.