The European Union should lessen its dependence on China for batteries and green hydrogen electrolyzers, Bavarian MEP Henrike Hahn told New Europe this month.
The European Commission updated the EU Industrial Strategy to ensure that its industrial ambition takes full account of the new circumstances following the Covid-19 crisis and helps to drive the transformation to a more sustainable, digital, resilient and globally competitive economy.
The Strategy also shows challenges and dependencies in the area of advanced technologies. It presents the results of six in-depth reviews on raw materials, batteries, active pharmaceutical ingredients, hydrogen, semiconductors and cloud and edge technologies, providing further insights on the origin of strategic dependencies and their impact.
Europe imports lithium for electric cars, platinum to produce clean hydrogen, silicon metal for solar panels. 98% of the rare earth elements Europe needs come from a single supplier: China. The import of rare earths from China is probably the most critical issue in this area, because Europe has no mining or processing activity for these important minerals.
China dominates the battery production but, on the other hand, the European Union is strongly involved in supporting its own battery sector. We have the European Battery Alliance. Europe is developing quickly its battery businesses.
The European Commission set a target of getting at least 30 million zero-emission cars on the roads by 2030 and the ambition is that the European factories would cover more than 90% of the demand for batteries.
Turning to producing green hydrogen, the EU leads on innovative technologies. If the battle of hydrogen and reliance on China for electrolysers can be won.
China currently produces the cheapest electrolysers but Europe leads the innovative technology to produce clean hydrogen. So, the EU is keen to preserve its industrial leadership in electrolyser manufacturing so we are in a good way there as well.
New Europe / ABC Flash Point News 2021.