A new plan by two major European energy transition investors looks to raise €500m ($544.55m) for a battery raw materials fund to improve the supply chain.
InnoEnergy, backed by the EU, and Demeter Investment Managers said their new EBA Strategic Battery Materials Fund will focus on improving supplies of many critical minerals needed for battery development, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite.
Demand for batteries has been soaring in recent years thanks to the skyrocketing popularity of EVs, with pressure mounting on critical mineral supply chains as a result. GlobalData’s Electric Vehicles Market 2023 report notes that “demand for lithium due to increased battery sales is on track to grow by more than 400% from 2020 to 2030, so there is intense pressure to mine lithium fast enough to secure long-term supply deals in a volatile market”.
The EU’s upcoming critical mineral legislation, the Critical Raw Minerals Act, aims to decrease the need for imports of critical minerals from outside the bloc. As such, a minimum of 70% of the fund’s investments will target domestic production of critical minerals, including processing, mining and recycling.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Diego Pavia, chief executive of InnoEnergy, said: “Any value chain is as strong as the weakest of its links and today the weakest of the links is the upstream.”
He added: “We are solving the risky phases.”
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In order to qualify under Article 8 of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, the new investment fund will also place significant resources into developing more sustainable ways to mine and process critical minerals, a key benefit for Antoine Troesch, managing partner at Demeter, who added that: “This is where we want to be quite different.”