EU approves 3.2 billion euro state aid for battery research

FIEL PHOTO: A European flag is seen outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium November 6, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission approved on Monday 3.2 billion euros ($3.53 billion) of state aid from seven European Union countries for research and innovation in battery technology.

The approval is for projects in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden to support research and innovation in the common European priority area of batteries.

The 3.2 billion euro in public funding, is expected to unlock an additional 5 billion euro in private investments. The completion of the overall project is planned for 2031.

“Battery production in Europe is of strategic interest for our economy and society because of its potential in terms of clean mobility and energy, job creation, sustainability and competitiveness,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President responsible for competition.

“The approved aid will ensure that this important project can go ahead without unduly distorting competition,” she said.

The Commission said the project involved “ambitious and risky” research and development across the batteries value chain, from mining and processing the raw materials, production of advanced chemical materials, the design of battery cells and modules and their integration into smart systems, to the recycling and repurposing of used batteries.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop