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Batteries have a number of added advantages both for end-users and the electricity utility industry in energy storage.
Batteries represent the available solution to energy storage in a wide number of applications, from vehicles to Renewable Energy Systems. They are used in numerous industrial tasks, mainly related to assuring energy supply in case of mains failure (uninterruptable power supply or UPS; telecommunications), as well as in strategic defence applications.
The EU's 20-20-20 strategy plans for a 20% drop in CO2 emissions, a 20% improvement in energy efficiency and an increase of the share of renewable energy to 20% by 2020. The European battery industry has a clear role to play in the latter. Due to the fact that many renewable energy sources, such as tidal, solar and wind-generated power, only produce electricity intermittently, there needs to be a method for storing this energy at times of high production for later use. Batteries can fill this key role and help ensure a cleaner environment. European batteries have been used around the world in this capacity, helping communities to change from fossil-based electricity generating methods to renewable energy.
The ability to continue or further increase research and deployment of new technologies in energy solutions and storage is highly dependent on a strong research, development and manufacturing base for batteries in Europe, which in turn supports the competitiveness of wider industrial sectors with real benefits to European employees and consumers.
The truck and bus industries are forerunners in developing electrified vehicles and the railway, aviation and ship industries are working on electrified concepts that are in experimental phases. Because of high power output and reliability demands, today's trucks and buses are no longer equipped with simple batteries, but rather with sophisticated solutions that integrate seamlessly into the various vehicle concepts. The battery is embedded in a software-assisted environment, monitors itself, immediately detects errors, problems, or an insufficient charge.
Batteries will play an important role in promoting cleaner transport. Energy efficiency is essential in rail, maritime and air transport where there is a need to recover energy wherever possible. For road transport, the battery is a key element providing energy at start and acceleration and to recovering energy during braking, as well as supplying energy to all vehicle users during stop and idling periods. Achieving a breakthrough leading to success in hybrid vehicles is on the short to medium term and will facilitate the further development of full electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles are on the verge of becoming commonplace on roads throughout Europe. In 2010 the European Commission published a strategy on clean and energy efficient cars. Part of this strategy includes ensuring a market for electric vehicles. One challenge that needs to be addressed is the need for a constant, efficient, clean, safe and renewable power supply. This is a role that only batteries can fill. The battery industry is continuously developing more efficient batteries, particularly Lithium based, which have enough power to drive cars. The European battery industry has made considerable progress in bringing together research and development, sales and marketing teams to develop, produce and market high-tech Ni-MH and Li-ion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles, a segment with very strong growth potential. Battery storage systems have been recognized by all stakeholders as a key enabling technology to optimise the energy recuperation and the energy management of the whole vehicle with an appropriate level of safety while respecting the environment.
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