Saft forms key partnerships in bid to strengthen EU battery storage

French battery maker, Saft, has joined forces with Siemens and Solvay, to build an alliance with European industrial champions to research, develop and industrialize new generations of batteries focusing on advanced high-density lithium-ion and solid-state technology.

Recently acquired by Total, Saft will team up with Belgian chemicals maker Solvay and German automation specialist Manz, along with industrial giant Siemens in a bid to address issues across market segments.
Saft
The program addresses electro-mobility (EV, e-bus, rail, marine, aviation), energy storage and specialty industries, it said in a statement.

Should the development be successful, the next step would be to work together with industrial partners on new manufacturing processes, leading to an easily scalable manufacturing standard block of 1GWh, it said.

To build European leadership in this domain, with disruptive technologies, innovative products and state-of-the-art industrial processes, the alliance will need strong regulatory support and appropriate funding from European and national authorities, it said.

“Batteries are at the heart of the current technological revolution,” Saft CEO Ghislain Lesuyer said.

Battery storage still lags behind Asia and the US in terms of development.

European car makers also investigate solutions for batteries specifically for their electric models, with technology and manufacturing the key challenges and Volvo’s Northvolt project the most advanced in the realization process towards a 32 GWh battery factory in Sweden.

For energy storage solutions, Siemens last year joined US-based AES to form a global energy storage technology and services company under the name Fluence.

The grid-connected energy storage sector is expected to expand from a total installed capacity of 3 GW at the end of 2016 to 28 GW by 2022, according to forecaster IHS Markit, the statement said, with many other studies predicting similar trends based on falling costs of batteries.

In a recent interview with Power EngineeringInternational, Francesco Gattiglio, EU affairs manager of EUROBAT, the trade organisation representingà‚ European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers, said, “In Europe we didn’t really develop lithium ion production. What we have is generally small scale and more for niche applications. However large-scale production itself never took up because we didn’t really have the market and even right now if you look at the numbers, the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) is still relatively small. Energy storage, which is another very interesting field for batteries, was also not really well developed due to regulatory barriers.”

“Now we are moving in the right direction both in terms of regulation and technology and of course lithium ion cells and batteries in general are substantially falling in price, therefore it’s becoming interesting as well for the market.”

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