Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers

(BRUSSELS, 22 June 2016) EUROBAT, the European association representing manufacturers of automotive and industrial batteries, organized its 2016 annual Forum in Berlin.

In his introduction, Johann-Friedrich Dempwolff, President of EUROBAT and General Manager at Johnson Controls Power Solutions, remarked the potential of batteries to contribute to the decarbonisation of the European transport and energy sectors and their contribution to EU jobs and growth. He also underlined the necessity of having coherent legislation on batteries to improve the competitiveness of the EU battery industry.  

The subsequent three sessions addressed three topics in detail, including stewardship programs for the industry and its supply chain; the changes to the EU’s framework whereby battery energy storage would stimulate integration of renewables; and how hybrid and electric batteries solutions have been rolled out, or will be in the foreseeable future. 

The Forum’s first session addressed the REACH authorisation process and impacts on the European battery sector. Karsten Kurz, Exide Technologies and Chair of EUROBAT's Committee on Environmental Matters, explained why the REACH authorisation process would represent a disproportionate burden for the EU battery industry. Lead compounds for the use in batteries are well regulated under existing EU and national laws, while the REACH authorisation process is a costly process that would not apply to imported batteries. There are no alternatives to the use of the lead compounds in the manufacture of batteries and there are no exposure risks for consumers. EUROBAT and its global partners are conducting successful occupational exposure reduction programmes to ensure the health of their workers. Martin Wieske, Occupational Health and Safety, Chemical Policy, German Non-Ferrous Metals Association (WVM), remarked that occupational exposure limits for metals pay off and should continue. The cross industry initiative linking REACH and OSH legislation comes at the right time. Steve Binks, Regulatory Affairs Director, International Lead Association (ILA), illustrated in details the costs of the REACH authorisation process and underlined the need of an exemption from REACH authorisation for the use of the four lead compounds in battery manufacture.    

The second session focused on the services from battery energy storage and their role in Europe’s energy framework. The session was opened by a keynote speech from Henrik Dam, DG Energy, who remarked the importance of batteries in the framework of the Energy Union package. The European Commission is working on the SET Plan with the objective of becoming competitive in the global battery sector: to do so, the EU needs a Research & Innovation strategy for all types of batteries, including energy storage and e-mobility. Gery Bonduelle, Chair of EUROBAT’s Industrial Batteries Committee and VP Sales and Marketing Reserve Power EMEA, EnerSys, illustrated the contribution of batteries to the decarbonisation, security and independence of the energy sector and explained the legislative and market barriers currently preventing the deployment of battery energy storage. The new report published by EUROBAT, available here, explains these barriers and how batteries are a solution. Prof. Dr. Dirk Uwe Sauer, RWTH Aachen, presented demand and applications for battery energy storage systems in new energy markets. There are upcoming market opportunities for flexibility technologies including batteries. Alexander Conreder, Head of business development in energy solutions, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, highlighted the potential of ‘photovoltaic plus battery systems’, with particular regards for Germany where more than 30,000 systems have already been installed.   

The third panel discussed the contribution of batteries to the decarbonisation of road transport in smart cities. Filippo Girardi, Chief Executive Officer, Midac S.p.a., presented the statistics gathered by EUROBAT on the evolution of the EU SLI battery market. Plug-in and Electric Vehicles sales are increasing but a very small percentage of the 250 million car parc. He stated that “tomorrow’s plan is not possible without today’s plan” showing that start stop batteries represented 27% of total EU battery market in 2015, with a sharp increasing trend, contributing to a very significant reduction of emissions. Beatrice Lacout, Business Development and Sales, SAFT, explained how batteries will be at the heart of the future connected cities, ranging from electric and hybrid vehicles to building efficiency and battery energy storage. Win Neidlinger, Director Business Development, Streetscooter, presented the impressive case of the Streetscooter E-Mobility Vehicles for the so-called Last Mile Delivery used by Deutsche Post DHL, rolling out tens of thousands of battery electric vehicles.

In closing the Forum, Alfons Westgeest, EUROBAT Executive Director, underlined the importance of cooperation among different stakeholders and supply-chain partners in the automotive and industrial batteries fields and reminded that batteries are part of the solution to our transport and energy challenges. 

100 attendees participated at the 2016 edition of the EUROBAT Forum. The event was moderated by Constanze Litt manager of euractiv.de, an EU Multilanguage media portal.

All presentations and photos are available on EUROBAT’s website

Next year’s EUROBAT AGM and Forum will be held on 8-9 June in Brussels, Belgium.

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About EUROBAT: 

EUROBAT is the association for the European manufacturers automotive, industrial and energy storage batteries. EUROBAT has 54 members from across the continent comprising more than 90% of the battery industry in Europe. The members and staff work with all stakeholders, such as battery users, governmental organisations and media, to develop new battery solutions in areas of hybrid and electro-mobility as well as grid flexibility and renewable energy storage. 

For more information, please visit www.eurobat.org or contact the office in Brussels.