Sustainable energy storage and moving towards a circular economy are major aspects of our century's sustainable development agenda. The automobile industry is notably among major CO2 emitting industries and is undergoing an intensive transformation towards the decarbonisation of the mobility sector, towards sustainable forms of e-mobility.
The resulting shift from internal combustion vehicles to battery powered electric vehicles (EVs) places lithium-ion batteries at the heart of EV performance and EV adoption among consumers.
Considering that lithium-ion battery technology is relatively new and complex and that the future of power systems requires more efficient and sustainable energy storage, engineers and executives alike are in need of a new set of skills. In Europe alone, the European Battery Alliance estimates that by 2050, 800,000 additional skilled workers will be needed along the battery value chain to operate the booming battery industry. The global demand for quality battery technology will meanwhile continue to increase, with the annual market value estimated to reach €250 billion from 2025 onwards (EIT InnoEnergy).
Yet, the industry lacks battery-focused training programmes capable of upskilling the battery-related workforce globally. To bridge the gap in the number of skilled battery experts available globally, it’s essential to identify and develop the skills that are needed for a highly qualified workforce in energy storage, and adequately train people on various skill-levels relevant to the energy ecosystem and its various applications. This post examines how we may accelerate the development of the battery industry through targeted battery education programmes.
Top tier education needs: Executive Level Education
The battery revolution is in its early stage and entails solving complex battery problems. Many issues linked to the e-mobility ecosystem for example can be solved with technology development and strategies and policies aligned with both sector constrained and objectives like the Paris Agreement. Yet, to properly understand the battery value chain requires industry-specific knowledge of a sector known for its fast pace changes.
It follows that it is crucial to educate C-suite executives to better strategies and develop policies at an organizational level in ways that may help the organization undergo a smooth transition.
Top tier education objectives
Target audience: Highly skilled individuals and decision makers; strategists; policy makers; business executives; etc.
Goals: Strategic vision; accelerate innovation; fasten the pace of the energy transition
Available programmes: energy programmes (often divided among sectors) / BatteryMBA (a battery-focused training programme)
Middle tier education: Engineering & Technology Education
The rapidly growing battery-centric industry dramatically accelerates the demand for battery technology. Currently, the sector lacks a quality workforce capable of solving battery challenges that hamper the use of this technology. The battery revolution has led to a paradigm shift in the workforce of numerou industries like e-mobility, telecommunication, energy storage systems, and others. The shortage of skills that ensues requires targeted training for engineers, R&D specialists, and individuals with technical backgrounds who wish to transition to or focus on accelerating the potential of batteries as a sustainable source of energy storage.
Middle tier education objectives
Target audience: Engineers (process, electric, production, etc) / manufacturer specialists; grid management specialists, OEM workers; former fossil fuel experts; etc.
Goals: Changing production methods / Adapting infrastructures; producing & manufacturing new technology; solving battery limitations.
Available Programmes: In-house engineering training / engineering programmes offered by Universities; Apprenticeships.
Paradigm shift in the automobile workforce
First tier level education: Service Industry education
In addition to the above, service solutions also play a major role across industries by ensuring that the technology developed can be adequately maintained and repaired, participating directly in creating a robust circular economy. The complexity of new batteries demands a skilled workforce in the service industry sector typically dominated by lower-skilled and semi-skilled labor
First-tier education objectives
Target audience: Individuals charged with product and service maintenance; technician and machinery operators; lower-skilled workers involved with EV repairs, etc.
Goals: Build human resource capacity and skilled workers to maintain and uphold standards; assist with service and product use for increased customer adoption; ensure repair and maintenance for circular economy; reuse and repurposing.
Available programmes: Hands-on & practical training courses and apprenticeships
The battery industry is in dire need of a robust quality workforce to meet the demand of the rapidly growing battery sector and its related industries. Governments and universities play an important role in the adoption of advanced ICT tools in battery education. Conventional university teaching models do not currently suffice, and the digital age of virtual learning platforms should be used as an opportunity for sector-appropriate upskilling. Battery specific content is currently being developed by a number of institutes, while entities like EU’s Battery Academy are funding new programmes to roll out in 2021. Programmes developed by Battery Associates and others notably help expand the sector to a diverse set of profiles and battery enthusiasts, a necessary component of successful and innovative battery development..
To learn more about existing battery programmes, consider:
About: “Our professional learning provides unparalleled access to sustainable energy experts, education and entrepreneurs. Use our online and blended courses to catalyse your business’ critical knowledge, skills or expertise with a click”
About: “BatteryMBA is a 12-week CPD accredited programme training battery leaders worldwide. Taught by top industry experts, this twelve weeks programme provides a combination of in-depth technical and business knowledge, from lithium-ion battery cell production to clean tech market trend analysis. The BatteryMBA is powered by Battery Associates.”
About: “Battery University™ is a free educational website offering hands-on battery information to engineers, educators, media, students and battery users alike. The tutorials evaluate the advantages and limitations of battery chemistries, advise on the best battery choice and suggest ways to extend battery life. Battery University™ is sponsored by Cadex Electronics Inc., a technology provider specializing in the design and manufacture of advanced battery packs, BMS, chargers and diagnostic devices.”
About the author
Mr. Barath Venkatesan
Ambassador - Battery Associates
Mr. Barath Venkatesan is a materials engineer working on Li-ion battery models and battery pack designs. He is also an ambassador of Battery Associates.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not Battery Associates’.