The Consortium for Battery Innovation's impactful presence at European Commission’s SET Plans Conference
In the ever-evolving landscape of energy storage, the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) stands at the forefront, driving advancements in battery technology. At the recent SET Plans Conference in Viladecans, the CBI had a strong presence with its Senior External Affairs Manager, Nicola Filizola, showcasing the consortium's commitment to fostering collaboration and innovation within the energy transition landscape.
The revamped SET Plans to address energy policy
The European Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan was established in 2007 and since the creation of the energy union in 2015, it became one of the main instruments of the energy union’s 5th pillar on research, innovation, and competitiveness.
During the conference, the European Commission confirmed its commitment to reinforcing the SET Plan, and its acknowledgement of the key role that the initiative will play in delivering the European Green Deal, REPowerEU and the Green Deal Industrial Plan, with a particular emphasis on the Net Zero Industry Act. This will help to accelerate the clean energy transition, increase the EU’s competitiveness, and ultimately deliver the EU’s ambitious climate and energy objectives.
Boosting European competitiveness and technology sovereignty
The EU is a frontrunner in the deployment of sustainable energy solutions and in clean energy research and innovation. However, this leadership is not matched by an equally strong position in the manufacturing of net-zero technologies.
To strengthen Europe’s technological and industrial sovereignty, the European Commission has proposed the Green Deal Industrial Plan, which includes the Net-Zero Industry Act for increasing the EU manufacturing capacity of net-zero technologies, and the Critical Raw Materials Act for securing the supply of critical raw materials. The revised SET Plan will help convert innovations into marketable solutions that can be produced and scaled up in the EU.
Advancing battery technologies
The SET Plans Conference served as a global platform for discussing Sustainable Energy Technology Plans, bringing together experts, policymakers, and industry leaders to deliberate on the future of energy technologies. The CBI consortium's presence was crucial in highlighting the pivotal role that advanced lead battery technologies play in achieving sustainable energy goals.
As the battery industry continues to play a pivotal role in the global transition to clean energy, the CBI's active participation in conferences of this nature reinforces its position as a driving force in shaping the future of energy storage.
For more information on how to develop and reinforce the Brussels footprint for the advanced lead battery ecosystem, feel free to contact our Senior External Affairs Manager at email@example.com
Europe's commitment to renewable energy in the face of climate change
Climate change is happening right before our eyes and presenting new challenges for the world. European communities are grappling with increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events that have profound impacts and demand our attention. The consequences are severe, from urban areas transformed into fiery landscapes during sweltering heat to towns inundated by floods.
The root cause of the climate crisis is our heavy reliance on fossil fuels. Burning these fuels releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, trapping heat and warming the planet. This disturbs the delicate balance of our climate system and intensifies the occurrence of extreme weather events. To face this crisis, we need to move towards a cleaner future with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. In addition to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, renewable energy is essential for strengthening community resilience. This aligns with the European Union’s Green Deal, which outlines a comprehensive set of policies aimed to achieve a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
European summer of extremes
This summer, Europe experienced a series of record heatwaves and devastating wildfires that have swept across the continent. The European Forest Fire Information System reports that up to 41% of the area burned in the EU is in Natura 2000 protected sites. In 2023 alone, wildfires have released more than 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, exceeding the European average over the last two decades.
The Mediterranean region was hit hardest by this year's heat waves. The streets in Greece's ancient port town of Gytheio shimmered as temperatures climbed to an astonishing 46.4 degrees Celsius, setting a new record since record-keeping began in 2006. Life stood still in the sweltering heat, and the streets remained deserted. The heatwave also triggered a wave of wildfires that ravaged the countryside. Nearly 20,000 tourists abandoned Rhodes hotels due to the threat of wildfires, marking the largest evacuation of its kind in the country's history. The intensity of the heatwave caused widespread power outages and plunged towns into darkness. Hospitals struggled to maintain patient care, and businesses were forced to shut their doors.
In May 2023, Italy found itself in the grip of unforgiving weather. The tranquil rivers of Tuscany turned into raging torrents that surged through towns and villages, leaving destruction in their wake. Homes vanished beneath the rising waters, and critical infrastructure crumbled under the weight of the deluge. The downpours lasted 80 hours of relentless rainfall over six days, causing flooding and infrastructure collapse, leaving the affected areas in darkness. Over 20,000 citizens were forced to evacuate and seek refuge in temporary shelters such as schools, sports halls, and gyms.
Not only floods but also severe storms with strong winds are becoming a pressing concern in Europe. This year, Norway faced several relentless storms marked by a historic amount of rainfall. The Norwegian meteorological institute reported extremely heavy rainfall in parts of Norway, marking the strongest in the last 25 years. As winds and heavy rain swept across the region, trees were uprooted, flights faced delays, ferries stopped running, and power lines scummed to disruption. In cities like Oslo, people were urged to work from home. Meanwhile, in the small village of Bagn, nested in the heart of a valley surrounded by forests, landslides wreaked havoc, severing its residents from the outside world.
Researchers at Newcastle University predict extreme weather events will become more frequent due to the climate crisis. "Alongside drastically cutting emissions, countries must build more resilient infrastructure," the researchers said.
Renewable energy and climate resilience
In the face of a changing climate, Europe is at a crossroads. Floods, wildfires, and storms dominate the headlines. As extreme weather events become more frequent, the transition to renewable energy is necessary. The European Union recognises this need and has adopted bold initiatives such as the European Green Deal, a comprehensive roadmap to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Central to this strategy is the Fit for 55 initiative, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Additionally, the RePower EU plan aims to decrease the dependency of the European Union on Russian fossil fuels and promote green energy.
These initiatives address the challenges highlighted by the extreme weather events. By transitioning to renewable energy, Europe reduces its dependence on fossil fuels and mitigates the effects of climate change. Renewable energy, coupled with energy storage systems, can enhance communities' resilience and help them withstand increasingly severe weather events. Renewable energy ensures a reliable electricity supply amid widespread damage from floods, provides backup power to fire stations during wildfires, and restores power to villages cut off during severe storms. As Europe navigates through new climate challenges, transitioning to clean energy becomes a vital tool to help us ensure a safer and more sustainable future in the face of these extreme weather events.
Want to know more about CBI’s work to achieve a carbon neutral economy in Europe? Subscribe to our newsletter here.
Green energy for Africa supported by micro electric agriculture
Funding: Innovate UK
Duration: April 2023 – April 2024
Project partners: Consortium for Battery Innovation, Loughborough University, Tiyeni
Aftrak aims to develop a green electricity solution for rural communities combining a solar energy microgrid with a micro electric tractor to mechanise land preparation. Advanced lead batteries inbuilt in the micro electric tractor play a central role in this green energy system, storing solar energy and providing it during land preparation activities.
The micro electric tractor also aids the implementation of Deep Bed Farming, an agricultural methodology especially designed for Malawian soils developed by project partner Tiyeni. This system can provide a significant agricultural revenue boost to sustain microgrid-related costs and encourage further energy access investments.
The project reached the final of the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy, and an extra field demonstration of the system will be carried out South Africa.
For more information visit project's website: https://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/aftrak/
Low-cost, Circular, plug & play, Off-grid Energy for remote Locations including Hydrogen
Funding: Horizon Europe
Duration: 1 January 2023 – 31 December 2026
Project partners: Consortium for Battery Innovation, Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives, Hollingsworth & Vose, HOPPECKE Batteries, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Loughborough University, RHYDE, Sunkofa Energy, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, University of Gabes
LoCEL-H2 (Low-cost, Circular, plug & play, Off-grid Energy for remote Locations including Hydrogen) is developing a new solution to bring renewable electricity and clean cooking fuel for off-grid communities.
The solution comprises three core technical innovations:
LoCEL-H2 will conduct two pilot programs, one located in Zambia and the other in Côte d’Ivoire, assessing each community’s energy needs and tailoring the solution in order to provide renewable energy and cooking fuel for approximately 30 households and businesses in each pilot.
For more information visit project's website: https://locelh2.org/
The European Energy Transition
By Nicola Filizola
As the world copes with the urgent need to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Europe has been leading the charge in transitioning to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future. The European energy transition is a comprehensive shift from traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal power. Among the critical components enabling this transformation, lead batteries have emerged as a key technology that plays a pivotal role in the transition's success. In this article, we will explore the energy transition in Europe and delve into the essential role that batteries are playing in shaping the continent's greener and brighter future.
The Growth of Renewable Energy in Europe
The European Union (EU) has been at the forefront of advocating for clean energy and sustainability. Through initiatives like the European Green Deal and the Paris Agreement, EU member states are committed to reducing their carbon emissions, fostering innovation in clean technologies, and achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
One of the main challenges of integrating renewable energy sources into the existing energy infrastructure is their intermittency. Solar and wind power, for instance, depend on weather conditions and daylight availability. To ensure a stable and reliable energy supply, an efficient energy storage system is essential, and that's where batteries come into the picture.
The Challenge of Intermittency
Unlike conventional power plants that can provide a consistent energy output, solar and wind power are dependent on weather conditions and natural variations. Cloudy days and calm winds can lead to a drop in power generation, causing fluctuations in the grid. This intermittency poses challenges to grid stability, and the power supply must be balanced in real-time to meet demand. If renewable energy sources are to dominate the energy mix, an effective and efficient energy storage solution is imperative to address this variability.
Batteries: The Key to Storing Renewable Energy
Batteries are essential components of the energy transition as they serve as a bridge between renewable energy generation and consumption. These energy storage systems can store surplus electricity when generation exceeds demand and release it when demand surpasses generation. In essence, batteries help to smooth out the intermittent nature of renewables and provide a stable supply of electricity to the grid.
Batteries act as buffers, absorbing excess energy during periods of high generation and releasing it when generation dips. By doing so, they stabilize the grid and ensure a steady supply of electricity, reducing the risk of blackouts and power disturbances. Moreover, batteries can respond rapidly to fluctuations in demand, providing grid operators with a valuable tool to manage the grid effectively.
The energy transition in Europe is also characterized by a shift towards decentralization, with an increasing number of small-scale renewable energy installations, such as rooftop solar panels and community wind farms. Batteries play a vital role in this decentralized energy landscape by enabling consumers to store and manage their locally generated energy. This promotes energy autonomy, reducing the reliance on centralized power plants and enhancing energy security.
Batteries make it possible to integrate a higher share of renewables into the grid. By storing excess energy during periods of high generation, batteries ensure that the energy is not wasted and can be used during times of low generation. This feature is particularly crucial during seasonal variations when renewable output may vary significantly.
Batteries also play a significant role in electrifying transportation, another essential aspect of the energy transition. The growth of electric vehicles (EVs) is dependent on advanced battery technology, allowing for longer driving ranges and faster charging times. Widespread EV adoption not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector but also opens up the possibility of using EV batteries for grid storage through vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.
The energy transition in Europe represents a monumental effort to combat climate change and create a sustainable energy future. The integration of renewable energy sources is a crucial step in this journey, but their intermittent nature presents challenges that must be addressed. Lead batteries, together with other technologies, emerge as the silent protagonists, providing a robust and reliable energy storage solution. From enhancing grid stability and enabling renewable integration to empowering decentralized energy systems and fostering electric vehicle adoption, lead batteries will play a multifaceted role in reshaping Europe's energy landscape. As technology advances and costs continue to decline, the potential of batteries will only grow, propelling Europe towards a cleaner, greener, and more resilient energy future.
The lead battery industry could be in line for a $10 billion share of the burgeoning energy storage market within the next decade.
Research into upcoming projects and opportunities indicated that the ESS landscape is forecast to be 550GWh by 2030 with a value of $30-$50 billion for all battery technologies.
The lead battery industry has set its sights on securing 100GWh of that potentially lucrative ESS market.
CBI launched its first technical roadmap in 2019 setting specific goals for the end of 2022.
“It was all really market-driven. We used those targets to select our program. And the result of the
projects that we funded have pretty much shown that we delivered on these goals that we set.”
There are now batteries on the market, primarily from our members in the US and Asia, that meet that criteria.
This means there are now have advanced lead batteries on the market-oriented toward ESS that have an impressive globalized cost of ownership for the system, says Raiford.
“The way we view it as battery scientists is cycle life — most key stakeholders look at it from total cost of ownership.
“So we see stationary batteries now that really perform along the lines of lithium.”
This European research collaboration aims to optimise lead battery performance for micro-hybrids. Researchers from Fraunhofer ISC and Wroclaw University are investigating the effect of carbon surface chemistry on the battery performance, and the goal is to understand which kind of surface chemistry is beneficial for improved charging and discharging behaviour for lead batteries.
Research projects like this one are proving to be relevant for wider scientific topics, such as low-emission vehicles, electrification and decarbonisation, as well as for carbon additive research.
According to Expert Group Manager from Fraunhofer ISC, Jochen Settelein, to follow the energy transition, batteries play a central role and lead batteries are safe, highly recyclable, produced at a low cost and the entire value chain exists within single countries or regions. By undertaking research and innovation into the lead battery technology, researchers are finding their way to adapt this « well-established technology » to the needs and requirements of the current energy transition.
Through this specific project, CBI is bringing together leading European researchers, scientists, and institutions to work towards a common goal, achieving CBI’s Technical Roadmap goals for the automotive sector, such as improving DCA.
Watch full video about this project here:
The share of renewables for electricity generation by 2030 is expected to grow to 35%, and this global shift is relying on innovative technologies to harness this energy in clean, affordable and sustainable ways.
A big focus area for this shift is how to ensure that the clean energy transition fairly includes communities in parts of the world without reliable access to electricity or energy resources.
Responding to Europe’s Horizon call for funding proposals, a consortium of organizations spanning the energy, batteries, hydrogen academic and NGO sectors has joined together to develop a novel concept called LoCEL-H2.
Aiming to develop a sustainable, scalable, multi-vector energy solution to improve the lives of vulnerable communities, the project is based on renewables, battery storage and a novel hydrogen technology for cooking/fuel.
Low-cost, Circular, plug & play, off-grid Energy for remote Locations including Hydrogen, LoCEL-H2 is recognising the need for a fair energy transition across the globe and working to deploy pilots in two communities that have no access to reliable sources of energy.
This innovative concept includes battolyser hydrogen technology under development at Loughborough University, which will be used as cooking fuel for the communities where the modular off-grid energy solutions will be installed.
The future needs innovation. And it needs technologies to work together and complement each other to deliver innovative solutions for the clean energy transition. Bringing together different sectors, each with expertise in various technologies and energy solutions, LoCEL-H2 aims to ensure clean energy is paired with socioeconomic benefits for remote communities around the world.
See Press Release here.
Watch the first video about the project:
As part of CBI’s technical team, we’ve recently welcomed Begüm Bozkaya. With a BSc degree in Chemistry from the Middle East Technical University and an MSc degree in Materials Science from the Technical University of Munich, she gained extensive knowledge on the effects of carbon additives on negative plates for lead batteries, after using this as a Ph.D. research topic.
After working on several industrial projects for the past 6 years, Begüm joined CBI to gain a broader perspective on lead battery research as her role involves directly working with CBI’s global members from different companies and stages of the supply chain. She will be managing all of CBI’s European Technical projects as well as supporting CBI’s standards program.
According to her, CBI is doing what no one else in the industry is by “combining the knowledge from the industry and research institutes and collecting them in a non-competitive environment”. This means it’s possible to pool knowledge from a range of battery experts in order to advance lead battery technology for all applications, from energy storage systems to automotive.
As part of CBI’s team based in Europe, it is also important to look at the role of EU industry-research-academia partnerships in driving innovation. “We need to strongly defend the place of lead batteries. This is a well-established technology: we are cost-effective, recyclable, we have innovative research initiatives underway, and we’re committed to contributing to a cleaner future in the energy sector, especially to facilitate decarbonisation and support climate goals. It is vital that the EU includes all batteries in their future work plans”.
In that sense, the work developed by CBI through its Technical Roadmap has been essential to collect relevant information for lead battery applications and to help educate the audience regarding the future of this technology that has an enormous potential:
“If we can open new research topics and innovative ideas that can cover what we have in the roadmap, I’m sure lead batteries can still be considered a key player in the efforts to decarbonise, and developed further as a result. Research is the key point.”
When mentioning the new year and the developments that we can expect from advanced lead batteries, Bozkaya said that bipolar or advanced PbC batteries “can bring new research topics” for the industry and that these are “great candidates for EU initiatives”:
“There’s a bright future for advanced lead batteries and a lot of great research projects being developed as a result of CBI’s work, so I believe that in the near future we will be able to show even more how committed the industry is to Europe’s climate goals and, therefore be more involved with EU initiatives through lead battery research projects”.
For more information on CBI’s innovative technical program, click here.
The 4th edition of EASE’s Energy Storage Global Conference took place last week (19 – 21 October) in Brussels and online. With the support of the European Commission, the event provided three days of talks and discussions around the future of energy storage, its current market, policy frameworks and the latest trends in technology.
For the opening session, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, spoke about the key role of energy storage and batteries to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, while highlighting its increasing demand to answer the new targets for renewable energy and carbon emission standards.
Šefčovič mentioned the importance of innovation and competition to keep investing in current technologies, improving performance and using advanced materials: “Europe must invest, not only in improving existing solutions but also in developing next generation breakthrough technologies”.
EASE’s President, David Post, also predicted battery storage of 7.7TWh by 2030 and highlighted the importance of supporting all technologies.
The last day of the conference was focused on discovering the latest cutting-edge energy storage technologies and CBI’s Research and Innovation Manager, Dr Carl Telford, spoke in a session dedicated to “Electrochemical and Electrical Energy Storage”, presenting the work that CBI has been developing through research and innovation for advanced lead batteries.
CBI's 2021 Technical Roadmap was presented to illustrate how constant performance improvement and technological advances can create limitless opportunities for the lead battery industry to help achieve global electrification and decarbonization targets.
While navigating through Europe’s funding landscape and showcasing European energy storage case studies using lead batteries (with Exide Group and Systems Sunlight SA), Dr Telford explained the challenges that the industry might face when applying through a “very complex” funding system, but also concluded with an optimistic note on the amount of opportunities that exist for energy storage and batteries in terms of public funding, proving that these are indeed necessary for the future:
“When considering the EU’s high-level goals, the speed of action required to mitigate the climate crisis, it is crucial that all energy storage solutions are not only available for deployment, but also encouraged”.