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Building a Low-Carbon, Climate Resilient Future: Next-Generation Batteries

26 July 2018


Call summary and aims

In the wake of the Paris agreement (COP21), as well as the EU 2020 and EU 2050 targets, there is a need for significant reductions in CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions in a short time span. Electric batteries are currently seen as important technological enablers to drive the transition towards a de-carbonised society, by integration of renewable and clean energy sources (such as wind energy and photovoltaics) in the electricity grid, and, in particular, by electrification of transport. Energy storage is the common denominator: it includes both electro-mobility and stationary applications despite the different constraints applying to each of these applications in real life.

Electric batteries have recently achieved considerable improvements in terms of their technical performance (such as energy density, power density, thermal stability and durability) and economic affordability. Such improvements are major contributors to the successful introduction of electric vehicles (which are becoming cheaper and have longer range) and of stationary energy storage systems. But for a successful mass introduction of electrified mobility and renewable and clean energy systems with market competitive performances and - in the case of electric vehicles - fast charging capability, substantial improvements of the electric battery technologies are required.

The competitiveness of new advanced energy storage systems or sustainable battery powered vehicles is strongly dependent on the performance and cost of the battery and battery cells and the materials used for the production of the cells. This is especially valid for the fast growing market of electrified vehicles. However, the world production of automotive battery cells is dominated by Asian companies which represent more than 90% of the present world capacity.

It will be very challenging for European companies to catch-up. Europe has to search for better performance, and strongly force the development of more price competitive and sustainable battery storage solutions. Beyond research on improved electrochemistry and new battery materials (e.g. advanced Li-ion, solid-state and post-Li-ion technologies), it is the complete electric batteries value chain and life-cycle that has to be considered, from access to raw material, over innovative advanced materials and nanotechnologies to modelling, production, recycling, second life, life cycle and environmental assessment and skills.

To face the challenge, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has initiated in October 2017 the EU Battery Alliance as a joint industry-led initiative to prevent a major technological dependence in batteries cells supply and ensure that European companies capture a significant share of the emerging electric battery market.

The selected topics proposed in this Call cover a relevant spectrum of activities in the field of electric batteries technology: short term research for advanced Li-ion electrochemistry and production processes, short to medium term research for solid-state electrochemistry, modelling tools, new materials for stationary electric batteries, hybridisation of battery systems, next generation batteries for stationary energy storage, next generation and validation of battery packs and battery management systems, networking of pilot lines and skills development and training.

In addition to COP 21 and decarbonisation, the whole proposed activities are in line with the Energy Union policies as well as the SET-plan and STRIA.


Business cases and exploitation strategies for industrialisation

This section applies only to the following topics, for which proposals should demonstrate the expected impact by including a business case and exploitation strategy for industrialisation. 

• LC-BAT-1-2019: Strongly improved, highly performant and safe all solid state batteries for electric vehicles (RIA)

• LC-BAT-2-2019: Strengthening EU materials technologies for non-automotive battery storage (RIA)

The business case and exploitation strategy will be evaluated under the 'Impact' criterion:

The business case should demonstrate the expected impact of the proposal in terms of enhanced market opportunities for European enterprises and innovators and enhanced manufacturing capacities in Europe, and thus growth and jobs in Europe, in the short to medium term. It should describe the targeted market(s); estimated market size in Europe and globally; user and customer needs; and demonstrate that the solutions will match the market and user needs in a cost-effective manner; and describe the expected market position and competitive advantage.

The exploitation strategy should be realistic and identify obstacles, requirements and necessary actions involved in reaching higher TRLs, such as 

1. Improved material/product robustness and reliability; 

2. Matching European value chains; 

3. Securing an industrial integrator to adapt the new technologies to industrial scale; 

4. Availability of large-scale testing, pilot and manufacturing facilities; 

5. Standardisation; 

6. IPR and technology transfer; 

7. Product approval by regulatory and/or relevant international bodies; 

8. User acceptance and the needs of industrial users, including SMEs; 

9. Sustainability of financing (after the EU funding). 

For TRLs 6-7, a credible strategy to achieve future full-scale manufacturing in Europe is expected, indicating the commitments of the industrial partners after the end of the project (including financial commitments). In the case of demonstrators and pilot lines, the planned use and expected impact from using the final installation should be considered.

Exploitation plans, outline financial arrangements and any follow-up will be developed further during the project.

The results of these activities as well as the further activities envisaged in this respect should be covered by the final report (and intermediate deliverables) of the project.

Synergies with other funds: Where possible, proposers could actively seek synergies with, and possibilities for further funding from other relevant EU, national or regional research and innovation programmes (including ESIF), private funds or financial instruments (including EFSI). In all these cases, business cases and exploitation strategies will outline such synergies and/or additional funding, in particular where they make the project more ambitious or increase its impact.

One possibility is that of cumulative funding with European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in connection with smart specialisation strategies. Consortia could therefore identify, amongst other possibilities, the Smart Specialisation fields of their EU Member States or regions. For this purpose the 'Guide on Enabling synergies between ESIF, H2020 and other research and innovation related Union programmes' may be useful. Some projects may, moreover, contribute to regional smart specialisation strategies by capitalising on concentrated and complementary competences for the development of new industrial value chains and emerging industries with a clear EU added-value.

Open research data

Grant beneficiaries under this work programme part will engage in research data sharing by default, as stipulated under Article 29.3 of the Horizon 2020 Model Grant Agreement (including the creation of a Data Management Plan). Participants may however opt out of these arrangements, both before and after the signature of the grant agreement. More information can be found under General Annex L of the work programme.