The RESPECT project launch event held on 5 October 2023 was a significant online gathering that brought together over 100 participants. The primary aim of the event was to introduce the RESPECT project to the general public and to position it on the path to a green transition. The RESPECT project focuses on advancing the European battery ecosystem's competitiveness, strategic autonomy, and circularity through the development of green recycling and materials recovery processes.
Justo Garcia from Orano, the Project Coordinator, introduced the RESPECT project and its objectives, marking this event as a crucial milestone since the project officially began in July 2022. The event also focused on sharing best practices and lessons learned from EU-funded projects, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in the recycling sector and the battery value chain.
Philip Hawkins from DG CLIMA gave a keynote speech and presented the Innovation Fund. Innovation Fund is the world’s largest funding program for the deployment of innovative net-zero technologies which aims to bring to the market solutions to decarbonise the EU industry and to support the transition to net zero by 2050. The Innovation Fund supports different R&I projects related to energy storage (including batteries), innovative renewable energy, net-zero mobility and buildings. Philip Hawkins highlighted the importance of the synergies between different R&I, Horizon Europe, and Horizon2020 projects to disseminate knowledge and best practices among stakeholders.
The event was split into three panels.
The first part featured European experts who have worked on Horizon R&I projects in the past and actively contributed to cross-project clustering activities to discover best practices and lessons learned.
The second part discussed the clustering activities in the battery recycling clusters and how relevant projects interact with one another.
The third part focused on the new legislative framework introduced by the European Union to strengthen battery circularity and recyclability, with an emphasis on how R&D projects support these requirements.
In the framework of the workshop in collaboration with the Batteries European Partnership Association (BEPA), the event highlighted the importance of clustering activities in improving EU-funded R&I projects' efficiency and dissemination of results. Several clusters were presented: Collabat (Tomas Jezdinsky, ECI, Nerea Nieto and Eduardo Miguel, IKERLAN), Solid4B (Takwa Benissa and Kunsulu Nurekyeva, ABEE) and Battery Heroes (Georg Melzer-Venturi, EUTEMA). In the first panel discussion, panellists emphasised the fact that building bridges and sharing common expertise make way for disruptive innovation. Moreover, it is a seamless way to guarantee widescale dissemination of results. The workshop was moderated by Wouter IJzermans, Executive Director of BEPA.
The second panel included presentations of three EU-funded projects RESPECT (David Storer, CLEPA), RHINOCEROS (Nader Akil, PNO) and FREE4LIB (Axel Touja, Alienor). The discussion was focused on the impact of R&D on the European battery value chain and the implementation of new legislative requirements, including the Battery Passport. Speakers highlighted the role of R&I projects in maintaining the EU's competitiveness in the global battery ecosystem and the importance of collaboration between national governments and the EU.
The third panel discussion explored the role of R&D projects in developing the EU battery ecosystem. Daniel Cios from DG GROW, Rui Durao from DG RTD and Clemence Siret from SAFT presented their views on this topic.
The event concluded with Justo Garcia's statement, emphasising the priority of improving the safety of the recycling process and ensuring transparency in sourcing materials to remain cost-effective and reduce CO₂ emissions in support of the European Green Deal ambition. The ultimate goal of these projects is to deploy technology into the industry and propose solutions that can enter the market, with clustering activities playing a supporting role.
The RESPECT project expressed its commitment to continuing the exchange of ideas and best practices through collaboration with other projects.
The recordings of the event are available here.