The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) have just published details of their subsidy programme for battery cell production. Companies and consortia are now called upon to submit project ideas by 15 March for the establishment of competitive and sustainable battery cell production.
According to the BMWi, the call aims to ally with other European countries to produce battery cells of the latest generations. The German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Peter Altmaier said (again) that a “competitive, innovative and environmentally friendly battery cell production in Germany and Europe” is needed. He called on companies saying that to “own know-how in this part of the value chain is crucial for the future market success”. As is well known, the German government plans to make up to one billion euros available for this major project reportedly. France is in on the plan and only recently, the government in Paris pledged to contribute 700 million euros.
The German government have provided a detailed attachment to the funding call that defines the thrust of its initiative. By funding criteria set by the European Commission, the BMWi intends to support working groups consisting of companies from at least two EU member states that promote industrial battery cell production in Germany, taking into account the entire value chain (from raw materials to disposal). The public funds are to be drawn from the Energy and Climate Fund. The BMWi say they are in a position to grant repayable advances, loans, guarantees or subsidies within the scope of the promotion.
Applicants should not only have their benefit in mind: “The advantages of the project must not be limited to the companies or the sector concerned, but must be of greater relevance”, is a corresponding passage in the announcement. Keywords such as excellent performance, high innovation content, competitive advantage and spill-over effects are also mentioned.
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The establishment of industrial cell production is considered to be a so-called Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI), which means that public funding is possible until commercial application is achieved. Support from the German federal government is only open to applicants who have a permanent operation location in Germany. The Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has clearly emphasised in advance that support is targeted explicitly at German companies that cooperate with European partners.
It has been around three months since Altmaier outlined the dimensions of the targeted battery cell production. In mid-November, Altmaier set the target of meeting around 30 per cent of global demand for battery cells from German and European production by 2030. According to industry estimates, the worldwide demand for mobile and stationary power storage systems will increase more than tenfold by this time.