Business Finland is fast-tracking the development of new battery ecosystems. A recent report consisting of interviews with more than a hundred specialists from Finnish and European companies and research institutes explored Finland’s strengths in the battery industry. The report provides guidelines for the industry’s development activities.
According to estimates, the need for batteries will grow more than tenfold globally within the next few years. In Europe alone, the battery market is expected to grow to EUR 250 billion. The growing need for batteries is strongly linked to the increasing use of electric transport and renewable energy.
“Finland’s strengths include recycling competence, inclusion of sustainable development perspectives, active innovation, and the development and business ecosystems formed by businesses and research institutes. If we invest in our strengths, we can make Finland a leader in European battery business,” says Seppo Kaikkonen, Head of the ‘Batteries from Finland’ business at Business Finland.
“Finland is one of the few countries where all of the key minerals used in the production of lithium-ion batteries are found in the soil, and we possess strong expertise throughout the value chain. This means we have everything needed for the creation of an important battery ecosystem that will help us to create more added value for Finland,” says Petri Peltonen, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Systematic start-up of the ecosystem is about to begin, but efforts to build up battery competence in Finland have been going on for a long time. With the support of Business Finland, nearly 200 projects have been carried out in the battery industry and related fields since 2014.
A recent study commissioned by Business Finland looked into the Finnish battery industry and assessed its capability to set up battery ecosystems in Finland. For the study, a number of specialists were interviewed and a background report was prepared regarding battery-related actions under way in Finland and elsewhere in the Nordic countries and Europe.
On the basis of views expressed by company representatives and specialists, the report identified six theme areas where Finland has distinct strengths: battery raw materials and chemicals, large-scale recycling of lithium-ion batteries, battery system related technologies, battery safety, traceability across the value chain, and complex battery applications for demanding use. The first two ecosystems are already under way.
“We will join forces with companies engaged in this sector to move forward with the four last mentioned themes. We are looking for players, either Finnish or foreign, that are interested in co-creation,” says Kaikkonen.
The BATCircle project launched by the Aalto University is a good example of an ecosystem in progress. Its key objective is to identify ways of creating added value for the battery metals sector and to expand the recycling of lithium-ion batteries.
Several companies engaged in the value chain of lithium-ion batteries were interviewed for the report. More than 80 per cent of them considered Finland an attractive development environment. The European Commission has asked Finland to coordinate European research into recycling in the battery industry, which speaks for the effectiveness of the research and development conducted in Finland.
“The systematic development we have seen in the ecosystems around batteries is unique, and it has attracted attention particularly in Sweden and Norway. Therefore building closer Nordic cooperation is on our agenda right now,” Kaikkonen explains. Towards Future Ecosystems for Smart Green Batteries seminar for the battery industry players was held in Helsinki on 28 March.
Gaia and Spinverse accoplish the study.
Seppo Kaikkonen, Head of Batteries from Finland
Tel. +358 400 399 688, seppo.kaikkonen (at) businessfinland.fi