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22-02-2024 | Battery | In the Spotlight | Article

Comparison of Battery Strategies in Different Countries

Author: Christiane Köllner

4 min reading time

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Countries around the world are developing political strategies for battery technologies. A current Fraunhofer study compares battery policies. It analyzes lithium-ion, solid-state and alternative batteries.

What different battery policy strategies are being pursued in Asia, North America and Europe? The study "Benchmarking International Battery Policies" by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), which was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), provides answers. The report focuses on lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries and alternative batteries as well as the political goals and strategies of Japan, South Korea, China, the USA, Europe and Germany.

The results: According to the study, all countries are pursuing their own goals to become less dependent on international supply chains. Climate neutrality by 2045 (Germany) or 2050 is another common goal, according to the researchers, with the exception of China (2060), but country-specific goals for sustainability and recycling differ greatly. It has also become clear that all countries have significantly increased their public funding for research and development (R&D) since 2014, partly due to new strategies (USA: Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, Japan: Green Growth Strategy, Korea: Secondary Battery Innovation Strategy) and strategic programs (Germany: "Dachkonzept Batterieforschung 2023") from 2020. Funding has doubled or even tripled for the countries compared to the situation before 2020.

Varying Numbers of KPIs Defined

Looking across countries at key performance indicators such as gravimetric and volumetric energy density, cycle life or costs, the following picture emerges: Each country has defined a different number of key performance indicators (KPIs) with varying degrees of feasibility. According to the researchers, some of the countries would focus on a large number of KPIs, for example China for lithium-ion, solid-state and alternative batteries based on liquid electrolytes. Others, such as South Korea, would focus on a smaller number of core KPIs for specific technologies such as solid-state, lithium-sulphur and lithium-metal batteries. 

In some cases, the KPIs would be defined as targets to be achieved through public support programs (for example, the US energy density target of 500 Wh/kg in the Battery500 consortium), the study said. In other cases, they are applied to next-generation technologies with even more uncertain development potential (for example, Japan's targets for the commercialization of zinc anode/fluoride shuttle batteries after 2030).

International Battery Policies Overview

Looking at the individual countries separately, the study comes to the following conclusions:

Country

Battery Strategy

China

  • Shift from a demand-based policy and focus on the domestic market for electric vehicles to a targeted battery strategy with increasing supply-side measures
  • Strengthening the global market position: In 2022, the country had the world's largest market share in the battery industry
  • From a focus on energy density to the inclusion of more qualitative parameters such as safety
  • Concrete government targets for sustainability, also with a perspective on expansion into the European market
  • The current focus is on lithium-ion, solid-state, metal-sulphur and lithium-sulphur batteries

Germany

  • Change from a technology-open battery strategy with many different measures to a specific strategy for performance parameters ("Dachkonzept Batterieforschung": battery research umbrella concept). The umbrella concept, which was updated in January 2023, also focuses on the development of production processes on a larger scale in order to expand production capacities. 
  • Joint projects and funding with European industry to implement EU policies on topics such as sustainability, recycling and the digitalization of batteries
  • Specific targets for the development of solid-state, sodium-ion and other alternative batteries

Japan

  • Shift from focusing on the supply side to expanding production capacity and securing the domestic and global market for lithium-ion batteries (2022 strategy for the Japanese battery industry) 
  • Focus on lithium-ion, solid-state and alternative battery types such as fluoride shuttle and zinc anode batteries
  • Definition of performance parameters for alternative battery prototypes by 2025

USA

  • Investment through programs such as the Inflation Reduction Act 2022 in both supply-side and demand-side measures
  • Open-technology strategy in innovation policy. Goal: International leadership in R&D and greater independence from competitors such as China.
  • Publication of a national plan that defines performance parameters for the cost and sustainability of batteries
  • Future "revolutionary battery technologies" include solid-state and lithium-metal batteries, as well as lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries with liquid electrolyte
  • Focus on supplying the domestic market

South Korea

  • Aiming to become an international leader in the battery industry
  • Clear R&D focus on the commercialization of lithium-sulfur (2025), solid-state (2027) and lithium-metal batteries (2028)
  • Promotion of the e-mobility industry and direct support for battery manufacturers, such as extensive tax concessions
  • Three large private companies are making major investments together with the government
  • Focus on lithium-ion, solid-state and next-generation batteries, as well as lithium-sulfur and lithium-metal batteries
EU
  • Supply-side battery policy, but also includes demand-side elements that affect the end of the value chain with regard to the purchase of electric vehicles
  • The EU's main priority is environmental issues: ambitious targets for the sustainability and recycling of batteries (EU Battery Regulation)
  • The focus is on lithium-ion, solid-state and alternative battery types such as redox-flow, metal-air and sodium-ion batteries.
  • The main goal is to become a leading provider of sustainable battery technologies

Increasingly Market- and Industry-Oriented

Project manager Dr. Axel Thielmann from Fraunhofer ISI sums up: "Our study shows that all countries have quite up-to-date strategies due to the critical phase of the market ramp-up for electromobility between 2020 and 2030, the current geopolitical situation and the desire for technological sovereignty. These are increasingly market- and industry-oriented and supply- and demand-side measures for the development of circular battery ecosystems are increasingly being combined." 

The authors of the study also emphasize that there is no one right way to promote technology development. Furthermore, future political strategies should be based more on key performance indicators and monitoring the status quo.

This is a partly automated translation of this German article.

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