EU battery initiative led from Uppsala
19 March 2019
A large-scale research project on batteries is being planned in the EU and will be coordinated from Uppsala by Kristina Edström, professor at the Department of Chemistry - Ångström Laboratory. She has been researching batteries since the 90s and leads the Nordic region’s largest research group in the field.
Previous EU flagship projects have involved graphene, the brain and quantum computers. The European Commission is now concentrating its efforts on batteries and success could entail significant resources for battery research for the next 10 years.
When the project was announced, 33 applications were received and 17 were selected. Of these, the application coordinated by Kristina Edström was ranked the highest and the commission chose to fast-track battery research with its own focus.
EU finances half
A pre-study will be conducted in 2019 and the first projects will be planned simultaneously. The idea is that the European Commission will provide half of the funding and the member countries will provide the other half. Kristina Edström thinks this is a smart model.
“This way, we can have projects underway with long-term governance and an office planned for Uppsala, and then the different countries will contribute funds so that their researchers can take part. It will be based on excellence, but some countries aren’t there yet and they’ve started to build up battery research. If we can support them, we will boost the entire field.”
Strengthen the automotive industry
The European Commission is focusing on batteries to strengthen the European automotive industry and lay the groundwork for future innovations. If it becomes possible to produce not only buses, but also batteries in Europe, it will reduce dependence on suppliers in Asia. The vision is to build enormous battery factories in Europe.
“The commission is working with the entire value chain for batteries – minerals and mining companies, materials companies, battery producers, battery users and battery recyclers. It’s a whole circle and it must be done with a sustainability perspective,” says Kristina Edström.
What could result from these efforts?
“Europe could have a more coordinated approach that is longer term which could make these networks even stronger. I also think this is excellent for an entire generation of young researchers in Europe who are getting involved, and who are hungry and innovative.”
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