Research shows that the global demand for reusable batteries will grow 14-fold by 2030, largely due to the increased electrification of transport. From this, an estimated 17 percent of the total demand for batteries will come from the EU.
As a result, reusable batteries in mobility scooters and electric vehicles are increasingly vital in the movement towards sustainable energy.
Due to this, the European Commission published a revised battery regulation in 2020 as part of the EU’s ‘Green Deal’. At this time, the draft regulations are under examination by the EU Parliament and Council.
In this article, we answer common questions surrounding these new regulations. We also delve into how they may affect your business if you operate in the reusable battery supply chain.
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Is the EU Sustainable Battery Regulation new?
No, the regulations are not entirely new per say. Basically, the EU Sustainable Battery Regulation seeks to repeal the current Batteries Directive of 2006. This is because the current Directive largely focuses on the end-of-life stage of batteries. There are a lack of provisions surrounding design, production or usage of reusable batteries.
The EU’s proposed Battery Regulations will be the first in the world to lay out a holistic set of rules to govern an entire product’s life cycle, from design to end-to life.
What is in the proposed regulations?
Generally, they outline requirements surrounding sustainability, safety and labeling requirements for the reusable batteries.
It also contains provisions for the collection, treatment and recycling of waste batteries to ensure that the expected market growth takes place in the most sustainable way possible.
What type of batteries does it apply to?
The regulations aim to cover all categories of battery including:
3. Electric vehicle
However, any restrictions set forth will not apply to portable batteries intended for use in emergency and alarm systems, as well as medical equipment.
Who does it apply to?
In this case, all manufacturers, producers, importers and distributors of batteries who wish to access the EU market must comply. The legislation will also extend to any company placing batteries on the EU market, regardless of whether they have any operations within Europe.
Basically, all stakeholders in the reusable battery supply chain will have to ensure that their upstream processes comply with requirements set by the legislation.
This would indeed require full visibility and accountability from all actors at every step in the value chain. From the moment the raw materials are mined, to assembling, distributing and recycling of the batteries.
Example – Electric Vehicle (EV) Batteries
To illustrate, let’s take a closer look at EV batteries and how the new EU Sustainable Battery Regulation will affect all stakeholders in this supply chain.
The Regulation will place new requirements surrounding the sustainability and safety of EV batteries, extending to carbon footprint, content and providence of recycled raw materials (e.g., cobalt, lithium and nickel), safety performance, durability, and more.
Here are some of the additional conditions that all manufacturers, importers and distributers of EV batteries will face:
- As of 1 July 2024, all batteries will require a carbon footprint declaration;
- From 1 January 2027, they will have to declare the content of recycled cobalt, lead, lithium and nickel. Additionally, batteries can only be sold if electrochemical performance and durability parameters are met;
- EU market participants must establish supply chain due diligence policies;
- EV batteries must contain a battery management system, which stores information and data needed to determine the state of health and expected lifetime of batteries;
- A “battery passport” with a unique identifier for each battery must be provided to the public
Blueprint for others
As with other regulatory frameworks (e.g., GDPR), it is likely the EU Sustainable Battery Regulation will once again serve as a blueprint for other jurisdictions and institutions. For instance, similar aims have been set forth by the Global Battery Alliance (GBA).
The GBA’s “Battery Passport”, “Critical Minerals” and “Energy Access & Circularity” initiatives will bring more than 130+ partnerships across a variety of industries in line with the goal to create a responsible battery value chain by 2030.
Clearly, fulfilling these upcoming EU Battery Regulations is going to be a tremendous undertaking. One that involves the cooperation and coordination of different stakeholders across the entire reusable batteries supply chain.
Food for thought
Imagine one easy solution giving you access to fine-grain data surrounding the battery’s journey. Starting from the mining of minerals to the carbon footprint of the entire manufacturing process, all details are accurately and transparently recorded on the ledger.
These real-time insights will also allow you to establish better due diligence policies along the entire supply chain which can help you adhere to these upcoming regulatory changes.
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