NAATBatt International is looking forward to a busy and exciting 2021.  This year should see continued interest by the capital markets in advanced battery technology.  It should see renewed government interest in promoting the manufacture of advanced batteries in the United States.  And it should see continued growth of the electric transportation and stationary energy storage markets, which promise to be the largest consumers of advanced battery technology for the balance of the decade.

Three things loom large at NAATBatt in 2021.  First is a study of the North American supply chain for lithium-ion battery technology.  Three NAATBatt committees–the North American Manufacturing Committee, the Markets Committee and the Battery Recycling Committee–have already completed maps of the business segments within their areas of focus.  A committee of NAATBatt leadership is in the process of consolidating those maps and creating a final list of the business segments within the lithium-ion battery supply chain to be studied.

The goal of the supply chain project is to create a list of every major business segment and process that is involved in the manufacture of lithium-ion battery cell and packs.  NAATBatt will then identify every company doing business in each such segment in North America.  The goal is to create a dynamic database that will highlight resources and business opportunities within that supply chain for NAATBatt members.  The map should also identify to the U.S. and Canadian government officials the holes in the North American lithium-ion supply chain that government support might help fill.

A preliminary list of business segments should be completed within the next two weeks and will be circulated to the three participating committees for comment.  NAATBatt intends thereafter to open a solicitation for a third-party consultant to research and fill in information about all companies active in each business segment in North America.

NAATBatt’s second major project for 2021 just kicked off this week.  NAATBatt’s Education Committee has started its own mapping project.  The Education Committee will map the job categories that are likely to be impacted by the electrification of transportation and the installation of stationary energy storage.  The goal of the project is to identify the job training needs of the North American workforce as the electrification of the 21st Century economy continues and accelerates.

I would encourage all NAATBatt members to pitch in and help out with the electrification job training project.  One of the greatest barriers to energy storage and electric vehicle deployment in North America may be the lack of properly trained technicians.  Industry is uniquely positioned to identifying who those technicians will be and what skills they will need.  NAATBatt’s hope is that its electrification job training project will address a possible supply constraint for our members and help governments more effectively focus job training dollars.

Third and finally, NAATBatt looks forward to getting back together again in person in the hopefully soon-to-come post-Covid era.  NAATBatt is busy planning its NAATBatt 2021 meeting next February, which will necessarily be on-line only.  A virtual meeting will not be the disaster NAATBatt feared that it would be when Covid first broke out early last year.  The substantive content will be largely the same, maybe even better than past in person meetings.  If you have not yet registered to attend NAATBatt 2021, please do so by clicking here.

But virtual meetings are no substitute for in-person meetings.  The need for camaraderie and for the long, detailed conversations that usually follow in speaker presentations is an itch that virtual meetings just can’t scratch.  NAATBatt looks forward to scratching that itch again in the second half of 2021.  Keep an eye on our newsletter for announcement concerning our next in-person events.  Hopefully you will not have to keep looking too long.