by Ancuta Rusu, PhD.
On December 12 2020, the European Commission published their proposal for a revision to the Battery Directive 2006/66/EC which aims to ensure that EU’s legal framework will regulate all stages of a battery’s lifecycle to respond to the challenging Circular Economy action plan.
The Commission’s proposal, which is part of The Strategic Action Plan on Batteries published in May 2018, contains a variety of requirements and restrictions in order to minimise the environmental impact of batteries.
The proposal aims to promote a more efficient use of resources by raising the collection and recycling rates of portable batteries with a focus on the recovery of cobalt, lithium, nickel and lead from all recycled batteries. Manufacturers will also have to provide information on the amount of recycled content and the process will follow a harmonized methodology the details of which are yet to be communicated.
The proposal also contains restrictions on the use of hazardous substances in batteries, in particular mercury and cadmium as well as labelling requirements to address the presence of more than 0.002 % cadmium or more than 0.004 % lead. From July 2023, these percentages will trigger an additional marking with the chemical symbol for the metal concerned: Cd or Pb.
The following timeline has been proposed to implement further changes to the requirements for putting industrial and electrical vehicle batteries on the EU market:
- From July 2024, a carbon footprint declaration will be required.
- By January 2026, each industrial battery and electric vehicle battery with a capacity higher than 2 kWh shall have a unique “battery passport” linked to the information about the characteristics of each battery type and model providing valuable data to recyclers and second-life companies. An electronic exchange system in the form of an online battery database has also been proposed to complement the passport.
- From January 2026, these batteries must have a carbon intensity performance class label the details of which are yet to be communicated.
- From January 2027, industrial and electric-vehicle batteries with internal storage will have to declare the contained content of recycled cobalt, lead, lithium and nickel.
- From July 2027, they will have to comply with maximum carbon thresholds that have yet to be stated.
- From January 2030, these batteries will have to comply with minimum recycled content thresholds (12% cobalt; 85% lead, 4% lithium and 4% nickel).
- From January 2035, these thresholds will be further increased (20% cobalt; 85% lead; 10% lithium; 12% nickel).
Through this new proposal, which will come into force when the final legal document is published, the battery market will become more transparent it will facilitate the development of innovative products and a smoother transition to a more sustainable economy through the traceability of batteries throughout their lifecycle.
Recommended Action Items:
Become familiar with the proposed regulatory changes to establish the impact on your products.
Circular economy, battery passport, electric vehicle battery, waste
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