Germany Bets a Billion on Batteries

21 December 2018

BERLIN, December 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

A Franco-German agreement on battery cell production, signed off by Federal Minister for Economics and Energy Peter Altmaier and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday, could pave the way for €1bn of EU funding for large-scale battery cell production in Germany.

Germany's government has, according to the declaration, already reserved the amount for supporting the development of battery cell production in Germany, but it is hoping that project proposals within the sector qualify as an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI), which would see them gain access to the €1bn IPCEI fund.

"… the Sides have come to the following understanding: The objective of a French-German Cooperation shall be focused on the support of cooperation between companies, research institutes and platforms in the field of battery cell production and across the value chain, from the raw materials suppliers to the car manufacturers, with clear commitments of the parties," read the declaration.

"Specific fields of cooperation between Germany and France shall include, but are not limited to, industrial aspects of battery cell production and related technologies, European regulatory issues such as state aid policy (esp. with regard to IPCEI and cooperation within the European Battery Alliance)."

"This technology is critical to the future strategy of Germany as a tech location," said Robert Herrmann, CEO of Germany's federal economic development agency Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI).

"Synergy and investment between industrial nations is crucial to better technological advance, so to sign such a declaration with France under the EU umbrella is a great step forward."

The IPCEI is already set to bestow €1bn on German R&D projects, after a decision by the European Commission for the funding of microelectronics, as a part of the IPCEI, has cleared the way for German companies to gain access to €1bn of funding from the German government for their R&D activities.

On the back of a year in which the German semiconductor market grew 8 per cent - driven to a large extent by increasing activity in the automotive industry - the news is a welcome break for research institutes needing ever-increasing numbers of micro-components.

Fields such as artificial intelligence, data security, Industry 4.0, the 5G network and continued advance in autonomous driving will all benefit from the additional funding.

"Germany is particularly geared strategically towards future-oriented industries such as autonomous driving and artificial intelligence and extremely well-equipped in production of, and research into, automotive and industrial semiconductors," said Max Milbredt, Senior Manager Electronics at GTAI

"Germany is already the most important European production location for semiconductors, so further investment and R&D funding in facilities such as Forschungsfabrik Mikroelektronik Deutschland (Research Lab Microelectronics Germany) show that Germany as a location will continue to be highly relevant for the industrial sector."

Link to the declaration:

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SOURCE Germany Trade and Invest