We interviewed Wouter IJzermas, Executive Director at BEPA (Batteries Europe Partnership Association).

I’m Wouter IJzermans. I am the Executive Director at the BEPA, the Batteries European Partnership Association.


What are the major challenges battery technologies face in the coming 5 to 10 years?

So, what we really see is that we need to get our act together in Europe to build this integrated value chain. Which means that we have to take all this wonderful innovations that we come up with in the lab and make sure that we are able to produce them. Therefore, it is very important to link the research community to the industrial community. And on top of that, we need to reskill over 800,000 people to make this happen. So, we have quite a lot to do, but we are geared up for it.

What will be the major breakthroughs expected in the battery industry in the coming years?

So what we definitely will see is that we will try to push to make things cheaper, by producing in large scale. But also, we will see that we will be able to adapt the batteries more to the uses than they are. So, right now, the developments have been driven by electric vehicles, but we see huge shifts as well for heavy duty vehicles and maritime, and we have to have stationary storage for the grid and you will see more focus on the different applications and how that will, in fact, the battery development.

What can the battery industry do to address the scarcity of raw materials?

So we need to develop new technologies that are less dependent on them. We need to, for the raw materials that we still need, make sure that we have the processing capabilities here on the continent. And lastly, we also need to be looking at this from a very system level, to see how we can actually change the way we use the batteries, so that we use less of them and use less of those resources.

How can public entities do to put Europe at the forefront of the Energy Transition?

So, from the public side, we really need to see that there is a need for consistent push, and also not to be too afraid to invest. What we now see happening in other continents is that the governments invest lots of money, and it’s something that we have always been afraid of in Europe. So we don’t want to pick winners. But I think this is really necessary to boost the funds that go into both research & upscaling from the industry side.

What do you think about the Basque battery ecosystem?

What is inspiring here is to see is that you really have the three main actors on board, so that there is this industrial ground layer which is already there. And in the Basque Country now it’s coupled with this push for knowledge in all the research organization. But there is also the government which sort of sees this, acknowledges this and that going forward. So that’s something that is definitely also other regions can learn from. And I think one of the most important things that the Basque Country can do is also to reach out to other regions. So whether it’s just in France across the border, or even in in other parts of Europe to make sure it’s further integrated into this European network of battery producing regions.

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