New EU climate target needs ‘robust plan’ for battery raw materials, says Eurometaux

New EU climate target needs ‘robust plan’ for battery raw materials, says Eurometaux

New EU climate target needs ‘robust plan’ for battery raw materials, says Eurometaux 800 500 Energy Storage Journal

February 15, 2024: EU leaders have been told they must do more to ensure Europe has reliable supplies of raw materials essential for batteries, renewables and other cleantech sectors to underpin climate policies.

Eurometaux, which represents non-ferrous metals producers and recyclers in Europe, said a “robust plan” was needed to support climate target proposals for 2040 unveiled by the European Commission on February 6.

The Commission said it is aiming for a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to the year 1990 by 2040.

The proposals will be considered by the new Commission that will be formed following June’s elections to the European Parliament.

However, Eurometaux director general Guy Thiran said industry needs “more carrots and fewer sticks to thrive across the next two decades”.

According to Eurometaux, much of the EU’s existing metals capacity has already seen “carbon and investment leakage”, including 50% of aluminium, zinc, and silicon capacity curtailing in the last two years.

New raw materials investment is starting to go to the US because of more favourable incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which Eurometaux said offers a simplicity and certainty that Europe has yet to equal.

Eurometaux communication director Chris Heron told Energy Storage Journal capital and operating expenditure in Europe is much higher than any other parts of the world, and IRA subsidies have expanded that gap.

Heron said 50% of the EU’s aluminium, zinc, and silicon capacity is still offline today as a result of Europe’s energy crisis.

Eurometaux president Evangelos Mytilineos said securing the raw materials Europe needs will be of ever-growing strategic importance.

“Every tonne of metal that Europe stops producing at home will be replaced by higher-carbon imports from the capacity ramping up abroad.”

Eurometaux urged EU leaders last November to scrap “cumbersome, lengthy and costly” processes holding back lithium battery recycling services and hampering competition.

Photo: Wolfsberg lithium project, Austria