Batteries for E-Cars: Energy for climate-friendly mobility
E-mobility keeps gaining momentum, forcing the automotive industry to undergo one of the most significant transformations it has ever experienced. It is not only the industry itself that is impacted – the process industry is also affected. Because process industry competence and expertise is in demand when it comes to the production of batteries, their preliminary products and individual components.
Demand for batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) is huge: According to current estimates, production of EV batteries will have to increase more than tenfold by 2030 in Europe alone in order to meet the increasing demand for climate-friendly e-cars. Billions of euros of investment is necessary, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. The money is needed for the establishment of European supply chains and reduction of the currently heavy dependence on supplies from Asia. Roughly 90 percent of the EV batteries needed in Europe are still produced in Asia.
Investment has already begun in Germany, Poland, Hungary and other countries, where a significant number of new automotive industry battery factories are currently in either the planning or construction phase. But it is not only plants for the production of mobile energy storage devices that are being built. Raw material processing companies and chemical producers have also long since adapted to the boom in demand for EV batteries. These companies are working to align their plants accordingly. There is one thing they know for certain: It is necessary to produce precursors and individual battery components before the batteries themselves can be manufactured.
Substantial expertise and experience is required for the design and construction of such plants in line with customer demands as well as environmental requirements.”"
Substantial expertise required
The EV supply chain begins with the engineering and construction of plants for processing raw materials needed for batteries – including graphite, lithium and manganese – as well as plants for the chemical production of battery components. These primarily include cathodes, anodes and electrolytes, but also so-called separators which are used to help convert the stored chemical energy into electrical energy.
“Substantial expertise and experience is required for the design and construction of such plants in line with customer demands as well as environmental requirements,” says Magda Zemanova, Automotive & Battery Market Leader for the Central and Eastern Europe region at Bilfinger Tebodin.
“This is because the chemical and process engineering steps that need to be implemented in the plants are usually highly complex and often require customized solutions.” Plant operators who want to produce battery precursors or components would therefore be well advised to find competent and strong partners to implement their project – and to do so at an early stage of investment. “The foundations for success are always laid before construction begins, even with investment projects in the field of e-mobility,” Zemenova says. During the planning phase, for example, a project partner helps select a suitable location, draw up a business plan or conduct a feasibility study. The partner also assumes responsibility for both the technical and construction-related aspects of the engineering work.
Investors should also take advantage of the expertise of an experienced service provider during the construction and operating phases. “Bilfinger’s multidisciplinary teams deliver a broad portfolio of services,” says Zemenova. These include procurement and construction management through to commissioning, as well as plant operation and maintenance.
“We have a winning combination of over 60 years of experience in the automotive industry combined with many years of experience with chemical-sector projects. This allows us to comprehensively support our customers in many ways – and support them in their efforts to contribute to climate-friendly mobility,” says the Bilfinger manager.