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EUROBAT, the European association representing manufacturers of automotive and industrial batteries, organized its 2015 annual Forum in Brussels.
In his keynote speech, Carlo Pettinelli, Director for Consumer, Environmental and Health Technologies at DG GROW, explained the aims of the European Commission to improve the competitiveness of the EU industries, among others objectives to simplify & streamline REACH authorisation, the relations with OELs and possible exemptions from REACH authorisation. Alfons Westgeest, EUROBAT Executive Director, responded that automotive lead-based batteries must continue to be exempted according to the ELV Directive as well as receive exemption from REACH authorization. The strong rules and excellent practice at the workplace, the excellent recycling rates of automotive lead-based batteries and their value for the EU industry and society are sufficient reasons for the exemptions.
The Forum’s first session addressed sustainability aspects of automotive batteries and reconfirmed that all battery technologies have their competitive advantages and roles to play thanks to different characteristics and very useful applications. Johannes Gediga from Thinkstep demonstrated the contribution of lead-based batteries to CO2 savings; Martin Seban, IHS, presented the results of a study proving that lead-based batteries in automotive applications operate in a closed-loop with a 99% collection and recycling rate. Astrid Arnberger, Montan University Leoben, and Karsten Kurz, Exide Technologies and Chair of EUROBAT's Committee on Environmental Matters, showed in their respective presentations that the battery industry is further developing end-of-life treatment processes and infrastructure for battery technologies and apply measures to ensure the safety of installations and workers during the collection, sorting and recycling stages.
The second session focused on research & development trends in the e-mobility batteries field. It was opened by Olivier Amiel, SAFT, Chair of EUROBAT's E-Mobility WG, who presented a new EUROBAT report which outlines the European battery industry’s vision of which technical improvements should be prioritized for e-mobility batteries, from now until 2030. EUROBAT’s report indicates that advanced lead-based, sodium as well as lithium batteries will all play a role across all applications in e-mobility, i.e. from start-stop to full electric vehicles. Greg Archer from Transport & Environment underlined that more efforts by policy makers and industries are needed towards the electrification of the European vehicle fleet. Christian Luther, BMW Group, highlighted that the targets for battery packs in the future are to increase energy density and decrease costs.
In a panel discussion during the third session, Henrik Dam, DG Energy, remarked the importance of the Energy Union package to achieve sustainable energy production and consumption, and highlighted how the Commission is working to overcome the barriers to energy storage and self-consumption and their importance for Europe. Rainer Bussar, Exide Technologies, Chair of EUROBAT's Energy Storage Working Group, showed that battery energy storage is an increasingly attractive and cost-competitive solution to integrate renewables at every level of the grid (generation, transmission, distribution and consumption). There are real market opportunities for batteries, but regulatory barriers need to be overcome in Europe, notably the lack of a definition of “energy storage”. Roland Roesch, IRENA, International Renewable Energy Agency, presented a new study showing the high potential of storage for remote locations, islands and off-grid applications. Antonella Battaglini, Renewables Grid Initiative, said that energy storage is a big game changer for the energy world, and distributed storage and self-consumption will lead a redesigning of grid tariffs and reward mechanisms.
In closing the event, Johann-Friedrich Dempwolff, EUROBAT President and General Manager at Johnson Controls, emphasised the importance of dialogue with supply-chain partners in the automotive and industrial batteries field and reminded that batteries are part of the solution to our transport and energy problems.
More than 130 attendees from different sectors participated at the EUROBAT Forum. The event was moderated by Julian Oliver from the EurActiv Foundation.
During the EUROBAT Annual General Assembly on 11 June, EUROBAT members also reelected EUROBAT board members and reconfirmed Johann-Friedrich Dempwolff (Johnson Controls International) as President and Andreas Bawart (Banner GmbH) and Xavier Delacroix (Saft) as Vice-Presidents. Nicolo Gasparin will replace Nicola Cosciani (both FIAMM SpA), and Filippo Girardi from the Italian company Midac was elected as new member of the EUROBAT Board. The other continuing EUROBAT board members are Michael Ostermann (Exide Technologies), Mark Zoellner (Hoppecke Batterien GmbH & Co KG), Charles-Louis Ackermann (Accumalux S.A), Marcus Ulrich (Entek International) and Todd Sechrist (EnerSys EMEA).
All presentations of the event, together with photos, are available for download on EUROBAT’s website: http://www.eurobat.org/eurobat-agm-forum-2015-brusselsbelgium. Next year’s EUROBAT AGM and Forum will be held on 16-17 June in Berlin/Germany.
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