I had the honor of being a delegate in the official ministerial delegation of Finland (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment) in the tenth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM10) and the fourth Mission Innovation (MI4) Ministerial on May 27th-29th 2019 in Vancouver. The Clean Energy Ministerial aims to tackle some of the greatest challenges of our century and works to accelerate the transition to a clean energy future. The CEM meeting is the only high-level political engagement globally where ministers gather to establish clean energy priorities, put forward policies and adopt concrete measures to accelerate the deployment of clean solutions.
The spirit in the Finnish delegation was very much “playing together”, adopting the spirit of the Finnish Ice Hockey World Championship team from the previous days. Team Finland (17 members) in CEM10/MI4 consisted of head of delegation Mr. Riku Huttunen, Director General and players from Ministry, Business Finland, Aalto University, VTT, Empower, Flexens, Solar Foods and Embassy of Finland (Canada). The delegation had a variety of duties, presentations and meetings in the official CEM10/MI4 programs as well as in the side events arranged in the Vancouver Convention Centre.
One of the first side events on Monday was Expert panel on electrification in transport, organized by International Energy Agency, Electric Vehicles Initiative. The aim of the event was to address the challenges and solutions that could facilitate greater EV deployment: freight and mass transit, charging infrastructure and batteries. I had the honor of being invited as panel member to the Battery-panel together with David Adams - President of Global Automakers (Canada), Michael Wang – manager of systems assessment in Argonne National Laboratory (US) and Zheng Yali – Automotive Industry Research Department Vice Director (China). The panel discussion focused on opportunities and threats for mass production, technical advancements, implications for life-cycle impacts and challenges related to material supply. The BATCircle message about the need for higher recycling rates both in terms of amount of elements and mass of the recycled material was taken well – although many of the CEM countries do not yet have any legislation regarding battery recycling. The audience also brought up the question if the future battery recycling technologies could also be feasible in the third world countries, or whether it is only the privilege of the developed countries. We, the researchers and companies in BATCircle, work hard to develop technologies that could be economically, technically and environmentally feasible, to support recycling of all metals and elements, regardless of the geographical location.
On Tuesday, Finland hosted a side-event Smart Energy Platforms and Testbeds: Enabling Tomorrow´s Flexible Energy Systems, where the smart energy platforms and test beds (Smart Otaniemi, Åland test bed) as well as BATCircle – Finland based battery metals ecosystem, was promoted. The growth in the EV sector necessitates a large increase in raw materials production, but also in recycling. In this respect, Finland is in a unique position as we have a variety of actors involved in both primary and secondary metals production. This is evident also in the BATCircle consortium with 22 companies involved. In addition Finland has well-functioning electricity markets, smart grid infrastructure as well as high-class knowledge in the fields like sector-coupling, digitalization and metallurgy.
One of the most interesting partnerships (additional $ 1 billion) launched in Vancouver was a new international partnership to increase the use of energy storage in developing countries. Energy Storage Partnership (ESP) that comprises of the World Bank Group (WBG) and 29 organizations working together to help develop energy storage solutions tailored to the needs of developing countries.
Based on the unique discussions in CEM10/MI4, it is evident that the countries involved in CEM are highly committed to accelerate the clean energy transition. However, the views and preferred actions vary largely depending on the country. As an example, nuclear power is one of the topics that divides opinions among the participants. However, raw materials and metals are needed everywhere, regardless of the geographical location, and sooner or later the recycling is necessary. In BATCircle, we are in the front line taking these steps towards a better circular economy of metals.
June 12, 2019