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Call: Sustainable processing and refining of battery grade graphite (Batteries Partnership)

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Programme
Acronym HE-CL5-D2
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 5 - Destination 2: Cross-sectoral solutions for the climate transition"

This Destination covers thematic areas which are cross-cutting by nature and can provide key solutions for climate, energy and mobility applications. In line with the scope of cluster 5 such areas are batteries, hydrogen, communities and cities, early-stage breakthrough technologies as well as citizen engagement. Although these areas are very distinct in terms of challenges, stakeholder communities and expected impacts, they have their cross-cutting nature as a unifying feature and are therefore grouped together under this Destination.

This Destination contributes to the following Strategic Plan’s Key Strategic Orientations (KSO):

  • C: Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy through the transformation of its mobility, energy, construction and production systems;
  • A: Promoting an open strategic autonomy[[‘Open strategic autonomy’ refers to the term ‘strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy’, as reflected in the conclusions of the European Council 1 – 2 October 2020.]] by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains to accelerate and steer the digital and green transitions through human-centred technologies and innovations;
  • D: Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society, prepared and responsive to threats and disasters, addressing inequalities and providing high-quality health care, and empowering all citizens to act in the green and digital transitions.

It covers the following impact areas:

  • Industrial leadership in key and emerging technologies that work for people
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Smart and sustainable transport

The expected impact, in line with the Strategic Plan, is to contribute to the “Clean and sustainable transition of the energy and transport sectors towards climate neutrality facilitated by innovative cross-cutting solutions”, notably through:

  1. Nurturing a world-class European research and innovation eco-system on batteries along the value chain based on sustainable pathways. It includes improvement of technological performance to increase application user attractiveness (in particular in terms of safety, cost, user convenience, fast charging and environmental footprint), in parallel supporting the creation of a competitive, circular, and sustainable European battery manufacturing value chain (more detailed information below).
  2. Increased efficiency of Europe’s cities’ and communities’ energy, resource use and mobility patterns and cities’ and communities’ overall sustainability, thereby improving their climate-resilience and attractiveness to businesses and citizens in a holistic fashion. This also includes improved air and water quality, resilience of energy supply, intelligent mobility services and logistics, liveability and accessibility of cities, public health, comfortable, affordable zero emissions housing as well as the exploitation of relevant European technologies and knowledge (more detailed information below).
  3. Facilitating the transformation to a climate neutral society, in line with the EU’s 2050 climate targets, through more effectively engaging and empowering citizens to participate in the transition, from planning to decision-making and implementation (more detailed information below).
  4. Nurturing the development of emerging technologies with high potential to enable zero-greenhouse gas and negative emissions in energy and transport (more detailed information below).

A competitive and sustainable European battery value chain

Batteries will enable the rollout of zero-emission mobility and renewable energy storage, contributing to the European Green Deal and supporting the UN SDGs by creating a vibrant, responsible and sustainable market. Besides climate neutrality, batteries also contribute to other UN SDGs directly and indirectly such as enabling of decentralized and off-grid energy solutions.

The strategic pathway is, on the one hand, for Europe to rapidly regain technological competitiveness in order to capture a significant market share of the new and fast growing rechargeable battery market, and, on the other hand, to invest in longer term research on future battery technologies to establish Europe's long term technological leadership and industrial competitiveness

The Partnership “Towards a competitive European industrial battery value chain for stationary applications and e-mobility”, to which all battery-related topics under this Destination will contribute, aims to establish world-leading sustainable and circular European battery value chain to drive transformation towards a carbon-neutral society.

The main impacts to be generated by topics targeting the battery value chain under this Destination are:

  1. Increased global competitiveness of the European battery ecosystem through generated knowledge and leading-edge technologies in battery materials, cell design, manufacturing and recycling;
  2. Accelerated growth of innovative, competitive and sustainable battery manufacturing industry in Europe;
  3. Accelerated roll out of electrified mobility through increased attractiveness for citizens and businesses, offering lower price, better performance and safety, reliable operation of e-vehicles. Increased grid flexibility, increased share of renewables integration and facilitated self-consumption and participation in energy markets by citizens and businesses;
  4. Increased overall sustainability and improved Life Cycle Assessment of each segment of the battery value chain. Developed and established innovative recycling network and technologies and in line with the March 2020 European Circular Economy Action Plan, accelerated roll-out of circular designs and holistic circular approach for funded innovations;
  5. Increased exploitation and reliability of batteries though demonstration of innovative use cases of battery integration in stationary energy storage and vehicles/vessels/aircrafts (in collaboration with other partnerships).

Communities and cities

This work programme contains only a few activities. The bulk of activities related to communities and cities will be introduced during 2021 as an update to the Horizon Europe work programme 2021, once the preparatory phase of the Horizon Europe Missions has been concluded.

Emerging breakthrough technologies and climate solutions

Although the contribution of a wide range of technologies to reach climate neutrality is already foreseeable, EU R&I programming should also leave room for emerging and break-through technologies with a high potential to achieve climate neutrality. These technologies can play a significant role in reaching the EU’s goal to become climate neutral by 2050.

Relevant topics supported under this Destination do not duplicate activities supported under Pillars I or III, but focus on emerging technologies that can enable the climate transition and follows at the same time a technology-neutral bottom up approach and the support of key technologies that are expected to support achieving climate neutrality. Research in this area is mostly technological in nature but should also where relevant be accompanied by assessments of environmental impact, social and economic impacts, and possible regulatory needs as well as activities to support the creation of value chains and to build up new ecosystems of stakeholders working on breakthrough technologies.

The main expected impacts to be generated by topics targeting breakthrough technologies and climate solutions under this Destination are:

  • Emergence of unanticipated technologies enabling emerging zero-greenhouse gas and negative emissions in energy and transport;
  • Development of high-risk/high return technologies to enable a transition to a net greenhouse gas neutral European economy;

Citizens and stakeholder engagement

The transition to climate-neutral economies and societies by 2050 is the defining challenge of this century. The challenge is not just technical: it calls for wide-ranging societal transformations and the adaptation of lifestyles and behaviours. Engaging citizens and stakeholders is therefore critical for the success of the European Green Deal, as is making greater recourse to the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), alongside the Scientific, Technical, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) disciplines.

The topics under this section do not stand alone but aim to complement and support the broader integration (“mainstreaming”) of citizen and stakeholder engagement as well as the social sciences and humanities (SSH) across the whole Horizon Europe programme map and particularly Cluster 5.

The main expected impacts to be generated by topics targeting citizen and stakeholder engagement under this Destination are:

  • A better understanding of the societal implications of the climate transition, including its distributional repercussions;
  • More effective policy interventions, co-created with target constituencies and building on high-quality policy advice;
  • Greater societal support for transition policies and programs, based on greater and more consequential involvement of those most affected.
Link Link to Programme
Call
Sustainable processing and refining of battery grade graphite (Batteries Partnership)
Description of call
"Sustainable processing and refining of battery grade graphite (Batteries Partnership)"

Expected Outcome

For graphite, both natural and synthetic graphite production for the EV market take place almost exclusively in China. Although there is some existing mining of Natural graphite in Europe, scaling these sources for the active anode material needs within Europe will be very challenging as (i) extensive graphite exploration and mining would be needed, and (ii) almost all of the refining capacity is based in China. The main challenges in refining are low yield in the spheronisation and the use of large amounts of hydrofluoric acid in the refining step.

For synthetic graphite, by-products of oil distillation are used as the starting point, followed by calcining, milling, shaping and graphitisation. This process produces high quality anode graphite (enabling long lifetimes and fast charging) but is energy intensive and causes environmental emissions (CO2, PAH). Opportunities to overcome all these problems exist already in Europe but need further development and investment to reach the required scale.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes on either natural or synthetic graphite production respectively:

  • Decreased dependency of Europe on imported battery grade graphite and decreased risk in European Battery supply chains.
  • Graphite (both natural and synthetic) competitively produced and refined in Europe in a sustainable and socially acceptable way improving the competitiveness of European batteries.
  • Graphite leveraging the potential for fast charging of batteries, one of the key factors for the user acceptance of electric vehicles.
  • Reduced carbon and environmental emissions from the anode material supply chain.
  • Projects should contribute to European Raw Materials Alliance objectives.

The Synthetic graphite projects are expected to focus additionally on:

  • System prototype demonstration of battery grade anode graphite material with high energy density, long lifetime and quality enabling fast charging, produced with increased yield and lower environmental footprint.
  • As a longer-term option, biocarbon alternatives to petroleum coke are expected to be developed to ensure long term sustainable supply.

The Natural graphite projects are expected to focus additionally on:

  • Advanced refining of Natural graphite to improve the yield of battery grade products and lower the environmental footprint.

Scope:

  • Enabling European graphite production – with vertical integration into the European battery production. Resource efficient sustainable production of both synthetic and natural graphite emphasising reduction of energy consumption, CO2 emissions, chemical use and the optimisation of recovery yield and raw material consumption. Enhance versatility regarding products and usable primary/secondary raw materials.
  • Development of solutions for combined use of natural and synthetic graphite.
  • For natural graphite: improving purification, milling, shaping and coating technologies that improve the performance characteristics of natural graphite.
  • Improving the yield of spheronised products from natural graphite concentrate.
  • Development of a non-HF purification technology to produce battery-grade anode material from spheronised natural graphite.
  • Developing improved coating technologies for natural graphite that will increase the performance characteristics of natural compared to synthetic.
  • For synthetic graphite: Improving graphitisation, calcining, milling, shaping and coating that improve the performance characteristics of synthetic graphite.
  • The use of other available European carbon options like biobased anode carbon and by-products from anode material production as raw materials for synthetic graphite are expected to be developed.
  • Development of new processes for synthetic graphite production from natural gas pyrolysis.
  • Reduction of process discharge and emissions in synthetic graphite production.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership on ‘Towards a competitive European industrial battery value chain for stationary applications and e-mobility’.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Mobility & Transport/Traffic
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, National Government, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
Please see the List of Participating Countries in Horizon Europe for an up-to-date list of countries with which the association agreements have started to produce legal effects (either through provisional application or their entry into force).

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 70 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 5.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 10.00 million.
Typ of ActionInnovation Actions (IA)
Funding rate

The funding rate is up to 60% of the eligible costs. This funding rate applies both to members and non-members of the partnership, except for non-profit legal entities, where the funding rate is up to 100% of the total eligible costs.


Activities are expected to achieve TRL 6-7 by the end of the project.

Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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