Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: June 3, 2024
Inés Platini
By Inés Platini
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eMobility report: Is Spain positioning itself as a powerhouse in storage projects?

Spain boasts the highest GWh generation capacity in the EU, according to data gathered by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. Here are the key elements of Spain's strategy to rank among the top six producers.
eMobility report: Is Spain positioning itself as a powerhouse in storage projects?

It is estimated that by 2030, Spain’s battery production capacity will range between 42 and 72 gigawatt-hours (GWh), which would place it as the sixth nation with the highest battery production capacity in the European Union (EU).

In the first five locations are Germany, Hungary, Sweden, France and Italy.

What are the initiatives that place Spain in such a location?

With an investment of more than 7,000 million euros, the national territory will host important projects, among which the gigafactories and assembly plants of PowerCo Spain, Envision, Basquevolt, Stellantis, InoBat, FORD Almussafes and Phi4tech stand out.

Added to these are other initiatives linked to research, battery recycling and lithium extraction, such as those of Extremadura New Energies, Novolitio, BeePlanet Factory, TERA Batteries, among others.

The Spanish red carpet to attract investments

In this context, in 2021 the Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE) was launched for the development of the Electric and Connected Vehicle (VEC).

This has a line that aims to encourage investment in industrial production capacity of batteries for electric cars, their essential components and the manufacturing or recovery of fundamental raw materials.

Jordi Hereu, Minister of Industry and Tourism of Spain.

This has already been called for three times and a fourth is expected to arrive in the second half of this year, as announced by the Minister of Industry and Tourism of Spain, Jordi Hereu.

The first call of 2022 registered 487 primary projects and the final resolution included a public investment of 793.2 million euros.

The second granted aid to 26 projects from 21 companies for a total amount of 528.7 million euros in the form of a subsidy.

Meanwhile, the third, endowed with 500 million euros, was launched on May 24.

This allocates 300 million euros (200 million in subsidies and 100 million in loans) to a line of batteries for electric vehicles, and the remaining 200 million are directed to the value chain section.

The fourth call will have an amount of around 1,250 million euros.

Possibilities of new investments and the “wink” to Tesla

Spain’s notable positioning in this market is undoubtedly due to the winks received from the administration.

The Government hopes that it will become a benchmark country both in the production of batteries for electric vehicles and in new forms of green and sustainable mobility. 

For this reason, it is continually dedicated to simplifying the aid allocation system.

This has been in response to the fact that, for example, in the first call of the Perte VEC more than 70 per cent of the almost 3 billion euros available were not allocated due to difficulties in submitting applications and meeting the requirements. 

As a result, large groups such as Ford and Stellantis were ultimately excluded despite their intention to participate. 

For this reason, the administration now seeks to facilitate access for companies and ensure that these subsidies are effectively invested in the country.

One that the Government is focusing on is Tesla.

Elon Musk is considering installing a plant in Valencia and the administration confirmed that it will intervene and have the necessary meetings to make this happen.

Not only that, but he also pointed out that the region will do everything it can to facilitate the process.

One by one, the installed projects

  • PowerCo Spain has started the first works on the land intended for the construction of the Volkswagen battery gigafactory in Sagunto, Valencia

This plant will create 3,000 direct jobs and will receive an investment of more than 3,000 million euros

In the first phase, two blocks will be built for the production of cells out of the four planned and there will be a track yard at the railway terminal for the supply of the raw materials and components required.

Production is scheduled to begin in 2026.

  • The Phi4tech company is in the process of building a supercapacitor cell factory and a nanomaterials research and development center in Badajoz, Extremadura.

This project foresees an investment of 1,000 million euros and an estimated creation of 1,600 direct jobs.

The cell factory will have a final capacity of 10 gigabytes, planned modularly over time in five modules of 2 GW.

  • Envision ‘s lithium battery manufacturing gigafactory in Navalmoral de la Mata, also in the autonomous community of Extremadura, will create 3,000 new jobs.

In addition, it will have an investment of more than 2.5 billion euros when it is fully operational in 2025.

The Chinese giant’s plan is based on the development and manufacturing of batteries from a zero-emissions plant, integrated into different electrical platforms.

It is important to mention that recently, Pedro Sánchez met with the CEO and founder of Envision Group, a meeting in which he assessed the commitment of the Asian technology multinational to this emblematic industrial project for Spain and Extremadura.

Basquevolt plant prototype.
  • The solid-state battery company Basquevolt will invest around 700 million euros to produce batteries in Álava, in the Basque Country, starting in 2027, and will create around 800 jobs.

The planned production capacity is 10 GWh per year.

  • The Stellantis gigafactory in Figueruelas, Zaragoza, would generate around 3,000 jobs and would have an investment of around 2.5 billion euros.

In principle, it would be to manufacture lithium-ferrophosphate batteries with the Chinese company CATL.

  • FORD will invest 188 million euros in a 100 per cent electric vehicle battery assembly plant, within its own Valencian Almussafes plant.
  • The Slovak InoBat signed an agreement with the Government to establish a 32 GWh factory valued at 3 billion euros, which will begin producing batteries in Valladolid in 2026 or 2027.

It is expected that there will be a first phase to reach 8 gigawatts, with between 400 and 500 direct jobs at first.

However, when the four phases are completed and the plant is fully operational, the creation of 2,300 direct jobs is expected.

Other projects linked to research, battery recycling and lithium extraction:

  • Extremadura New Energies has awarded more than 18 million euros from PERTE VEC II for the construction of a lithium hydroxide production plant, with which it estimates to generate 33,000 tons per year.

This project represents the second largest hard rock deposit in Europe. 

This is an underground extraction and first lithium transformation initiative, which has no impact on the surface, except for the entrance portal necessary to access the excavation.

  • Novolitio stands out as one of the first electric car battery recycling companies on the Iberian Peninsula.

This facility, in which 14 million euros will be invested, is part of Endesa’s Futur-e Plan, whose objective is to generate new industrial activity that lasts over time in the region.

It will be located in Cubillos del Sil, in the El Bierzo region, Castilla y León, and will have a maximum production capacity of 25,000 tons per year.

  • Since 2018, BeePlanet Factory designs and manufactures sustainable storage systems using second-life electric vehicle batteries.

These batteries retain a substantial storage capacity, ranging from 70 per cent to 90 per cent, and offer high performance, making them perfectly functional for various applications.

The company has a capacity of approximately 20 megawatts, which allows it to transform about 500 cars per year.

  • TERA Batteries has launched a specialized battery repair center and has an investment plan of more than 1.2 million euros to complete the infrastructure of its disassembly and characterization pilot plant.

The company’s plant for recovery, repair, reuse and recycling of electric vehicle battery materials in Spain is located in Alicante.

  • At the same time, the Energy Technology Institute (ITE) is dedicated to finding solutions that not only facilitate, but also constantly improve the experience with electric mobility.

To this end, it is carrying out different projects, whether research in the field of batteries, hydrogen, recharging of electric cars, among others.

This is located in the town of Paterna, in the Valencian community.

One of ITE’s most innovative projects is undoubtedly the development of sustainable silicon from rice husks to be used in the design of higher capacity anodes for lithium batteries. 

“This element is going to be the new graphite,” assured Ivan Adell, researcher in the chemistry area of ​​the Institute, and coordinator of the project, to Mobility Portal España.

Not only this, but other projects in the field of batteries also stand out in the national territory, such as Aktrion Group, Scutum Logistic (micromobility), Borgwarner, Benteler, Scoobic Urban Mobility (micromobility) and GDV Mobility (micromobility), among others.

What is the reason for Spain’s commitment to storage development?

In Europe, a capacity of 35 gigawatt-hours is expected by 2030, equivalent to the batteries of approximately 700,000 cars each year.

It should be noted that although work continues on different battery options for electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries continue to be the most used. 

This is because there is an established manufacturing process and robust lifecycle that makes these the preferred choice and dominant technology in electric mobility today. 

Within this framework, the EU has established objectives to improve their production, use and recycling, requiring producers to collect 63 per cent of waste portable batteries by the end of 2027 and 73 per cent by the end of 2030.

At the same time, it introduces a specific collection goal for those used for light means of transport of 51 per cent at the end of 2028 and 61 per cent at the end of 2031.

As for lithium recovery, it indicates recovery from used batteries of 50 per cent by the end of 2027 and 80 per cent by the end of 2031.

Thanks to their high energy density, lithium ion cells allow for lower weight, greater power and autonomy, for the moment.

However, the development of technologies such as solid electrolyte, metal-air batteries, those without anode, as well as the growing consideration of sodium as an alternative to lithium, mark future research lines and trends.

In this framework, Spain is one of the most important countries in terms of vehicle production in Europe.

Therefore, the government focuses on promoting other projects, in addition to the PERTE VEC, such as the recent call for the recycling and reuse of batteries to promote the circular economy and avoid waste.

Sara Aagesen, Secretary of State for Energy.

This has been advanced within the framework of the 2023-2024 Electric Mobility Yearbook presented by the Business Association for the Development and Promotion of Electric Mobility (AEDIVE).

There, the Secretary of State for Energy, Sara Aagesen, pointed out that “we must continue exporting, manufacturing and innovating” in this field.

“We have very interesting experiences in our country, from companies that started as a startup and are now a true business model. I think that’s what we need to see more and more,” she assured.

Teresa Ribera, former minister for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge.

Likewise, at the time, the former Minister for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, maintained that it was “likely that there will be more than one gigafactory” of batteries in the coming years, and that the Government would support the sector.

This is evidenced in the multiple projects that are already being built in Spain, as well as in the many that are yet to come.

Without a doubt, this demonstrates the country’s position in this area and the opportunities provided to companies so that they can establish and invest in the national territory.

One of the strategic points chosen by the companies is the Valencian community.

For what is this?

Jackie Sánchez-Molero, Manager of AVIA.

According to Jackie Sánchez-Molero, manager of the Automotive and Mobility Cluster of the Valencian Community (AVIA), to Mobility Portal España, Valencia is becoming a hub of innovation in mobility.

And he explains that it is an “attractive” territory, with competitive costs and a strategic logistics location , in addition to having a “highly qualified” workforce.

So, what does Spain need to secure more investments?

According to what was mentioned in the Energy Storage observatory – The future of renewables in Spain organized by, greater market clarity and stability is essential. 

“This begins to create an urgency for the regulation to be clarified in Spain. If our country does not take the step and already create the framework to allow or facilitate this investment, we run the risk of it going abroad,” says Felipe Hernández, chief Innovation Officer of FRV.

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