The new EU Battery Regulation.
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The new EU Battery Regulation.

On December 10, 2020, the European Commission published a proposal for the new Battery Regulation. This new legislation will repeal the Battery Directive 2006/66/EC and amend Regulation 2019/1020. The proposal is a part of the Strategic Action Plan for Batteries, which was published in 2008. The expected date of entry into force of this draft is January 1, 2022. The new regulation aims to ensure that batteries on the EU market are sustainable and safe throughout their life cycle. The regulation applies in principle to all battery types. The following battery categories are affected herein: Portable, automotive, electric vehicle, and industrial batteries.

New requirements and deadlines

To ensure the sustainability and safety of batteries throughout their lifecycle, the Commission has considered a variety of new requirements. Although the draft is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2022, the timeline for implementing the requirements will vary. For example, starting July 1, 2024, all traction batteries and rechargeable industrial batteries that have internal storage with a capacity greater than 2 kW must include a carbon footprint statement. Another requirement for traction batteries and rechargeable industrial batteries is to specify the CO2 intensity performance class. Starting Jan. 1, 2026, all such batteries will be required to display identification marks indicating the CO2 intensity performance class of the batteries. These batteries will also have to comply with the maximum CO2 footprints from July 1, 2027 (according to the Commission's delegated act, which will be adopted no later than July 1, 2026). The industrial batteries, traction batteries and starter batteries with internal storage and with a capacity greater than 2 kW will require technical documentation indicating the recycled cobalt, lead, lithium and nickel content they contain from January 1, 2027. These batteries will be required to meet the following minimum thresholds for recycled content beginning January 1, 2030: 12% cobalt, 85% lead, 4% lithium, 4% nickel. From January 1, 2035, the percentages will increase: 20% cobalt, 85% lead, 10% lithium, 12% nickel.

Electronic exchange system

In the future, the transparency of the battery market will be ensured by the digitalization of data. This will be done through the battery information system and the battery passport. By January 1, 2026, the electronic exchange system for battery information will be established. All batteries on the EU market should thereby be registered in the electronic exchange system and all relevant information on each battery model made available to the public. Batteries must be marked with a QR code in the future, which will indicate information such as, the charge capacity, lifetime, presence of hazardous substances and safety risks. The electronic replacement system will be linked to the individual "battery passport" via the QR code. This online availability of battery information will enable traceability and management of batteries and accumulators throughout their life cycle.

The battery passport

Together with the electronic exchange system, the battery passport is yet another step towards traceability, monitoring and transparency of batteries placed on the market or put into service. By January 1, 2026, every industrial battery and traction battery with a capacity greater than 2 kWh is to receive an individual digital file (battery passport). The battery passport shall be specifically assignable to each individual battery. Likewise, the battery passport shall be identified with a specific identifier. This is to be assigned by the business enterprise that places the battery on the market. This individual identifier shall be printed or engraved on the battery. The battery passport will be available online through electronic systems. In both cases, when a battery is placed on the market, but also when the battery status changes, the information access to the values for the performance and durability parameters is possible through the battery passport. The economic operators who place the industrial battery or the battery of the electric vehicle on the market or put it into service are thus responsible for keeping the battery file in the battery passport, as well as the change of status to repairs or repurposing that is associated with it.

Outlook

With this new proposal, the European Commission is pursuing the goal of making batteries and accumulators on the EU market sustainable and traceable throughout their life cycle. According to the proposal, it is also accompanied by the mandatory requirement to take into account the following premises:

 

  • Transparency through an electronic information exchange system,
  • new requirements within the framework of the battery passport
  • Identification by means of QR code for traceability
  • Requirement of the declaration of the CO2 footprint
  • Determination of the minimum percentage of cobalt, lead, lithium or nickel recovered from waste.
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