If we want to keep pace with Asian countries when it comes to battery development and production, we need to pool our resources here in Europe and share knowledge in order to continue to strengthen and secure our position in this market. 

This is the aim of the European Battery Alliance, which not only comprises an industrial component but also a research and education component.

It all began in late 2017 when Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, promised an initiative to strengthen Europe’s competitive position against Asian countries’ dominance in the battery technology market. The aim he set was to encourage companies to work together to enable battery cell production to also take place in the West. VITO/EnergyVille is currently involved mainly in the research and education component.

If Europe is to be more competitive, it will need to work hard to expand its knowledge of batteries across the entire value chain, from materials to integration level. In order to build a broad base of expertise, knowledge transfer is required through training, but such training is currently not available in Europe on a large scale. For this reason, EIT InnoEnergy has been given the mandate within the European Battery Alliance of addressing this issue. It intends to take advantage of this skills gap by providing intensive battery training for Master’s and doctoral students but also for business experts.

EnergyVille’s significant advantage is that it is able to pool various parties active in the field of electrical storage that complement one another:  Imec and UHasselt are experts on the materials side, while VITO manages the research and development from cell level to pack level. KU Leuven focuses on battery integration and connection to the grid, for example. EIT InnoEnergy intends to convert this pooling of expertise into a training programme.

For the purpose of this training, VITO/EnergyVille has initially produced fifteen Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs), short videos of about seven minutes which cover the essentials of battery testing and battery management systems. Once interested parties have watched these videos and have mastered the basics, they can register for an intensive course that explores that knowledge in greater depth. A first edition will become available in the autumn of 2019.