Making batteries sustainable, high-performing and safe throughout their entire life cycle
In December 2020, the European Commission proposed the first initiative of the New Circular Economy Action Plan (European Commission, 2020) towards a cleaner and more competitive Europe: the modernisation of batteries’ legislation. Making batteries sustainable, high-performing and safe throughout their entire life cycle becomes a key element to achieve the ambitious zero pollution goal of the European Green Deal. Batteries not only contribute to a competitive sustainability, but are also essential to reach climate neutrality by 2050. The initiative tackles social, economical and environmental concerns regarding all classes of batteries.
Today’s world is constantly changing due to variations in socioeconomic conditions, fluctuations in markets, the effects of technological improvements and uses of batteries, therefore, a modernization of the European legal framework becomes a necessity. The Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC, which has regulated batteries and its waste since 2006, needs to be adapted to new demands, mostly motivated by electric transport. An increase of demand for batteries will mean a growth in demand for raw materials; thus, Europe needs to reduce the implied environmental consequences.
The Commission suggests establishing new compulsory requirements to be complied by all sorts of batteries before being sold in the European market, such as utilization of minimum recycled materials or carbon footprint reports. By targeting the content of recycled materials and gathering, processing and recycling batteries at the end of their lives, the aim of this proposal is focused on minimizing the environmental impact of batteries and promoting the circular economy of their value chain.
The suggested regulation opens the way to the possibility of a second life of batteries from electric vehicles, giving them a different use at the end of their cycle. For instance, repurposing batteries as energy resources integrated in electricity grids or as storage systems of stationary energy. Additionally, transparency and traceability of batteries during their life cycle will be increased, thanks to the use of new IT technologies, especially the Battery Passport and interlinked data space.
In conclusion, legal certainty in the batteries field will enable far-reaching investments and develop Europe’s capacity to produce sustainable and innovative batteries helping both green and digital transition, while responding to the fast-growing market.
Leyre Carrasco Alonso – Regulatory Affairs Department
Would you like to know more? Contact us today!Get in touch
- European Parliament and Council. (2006). Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC. Eur-lex. Retrieved on 18/1/2020 from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32006L0066
- European Commission. (2019). The European Green Deal. Eur-lex. Retrieved on 18/1/2020 from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52019DC0640
- European Commission. (2020a). A new circular economy action plan. Eur-lex. Retrieved on 18/1/2020 from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1583933814386&uri=COM:2020:98:FIN
- European Commission. (2020b). Green Deal: Sustainable batteries for a circular and climate neutral economy. European Commission: press release. Retrieved on 4/1/2020 from https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_2312