Electricity

EU’s Batteries Regulation sets standards for sustainability, CO2 emissions

EU Batteries Regulation standards sustainability CO2 emissions

Photo: European Commission / Twitter

Published

August 18, 2023

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Published:

August 18, 2023

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As part of the European Green Deal, the Batteries Regulation entered into force with the aim to ensure batteries are safe, circular and sustainable throughout their entire lifecycle. The law opens the way for the introduction of standards and requirements for harmful substances, recycling, replaceability, social impact, greenhouse gas emissions and origin.

New rules apply for all batteries in the European Union: from consumer electronics to storage devices for the industry. The European Commission said the Batteries Regulation, which has entered into force, restricts the use of harmful substances like mercury and lead while also setting the scene for obligatory targets for recycling.

In particular, cobalt, lead, lithium, nickel, copper and other raw materials are obtained from scarce resources and not easily available in the EU, so some even have a critical status, the executive body of the 27-member bloc noted.

Recycling obligations to reduce dependence on third countries

From 2025, mandatory minimum levels of recycled content would be imposed. Two years later, all new consumer electronics would have to have removable and replaceable batteries and all batteries will require a digital passport, accessible via QR code. Companies in the production chain will be obligated to ensure raw material sourcing does not have negative environmental or social impacts, the document shows.

The new law brings forward the circular economy and zero pollution ambitions and strengthens the EU’s strategic autonomy, the commissioners said, pointing to the European Green Deal. The Batteries Regulation aims to ensure batteries are safe, circular and sustainable throughout their entire lifecycle, they added.

Member states must now incorporate Batteries Regulation

Global demand for batteries is increasing rapidly and is set to increase 14 times by 2030 and the EU could account for 17% of that demand, the statement reads. It is now up to member states to adopt detailed secondary legislation.

The new law lays the groundwork for emissions reporting for the battery industry and a gradual rise in standards

Batteries will also require verified carbon footprint data. Climate change is the second-highest related impact category for batteries after the mining and use of minerals and metals, according to the regulation. Rechargeable industrial batteries with a capacity greater than 2 kWh and the ones for light means of transport (LMT) and electric vehicles are set to get carbon footprint declarations. The standards would be gradually raised.

“As a result of these requirements, the avoided carbon emissions in batteries’ life cycle, will contribute to the Union’s climate objectives, particularly that of reaching climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. This could also contribute to other policies at Union and national level, such as by means of incentives or green public procurement criteria, fostering the production of batteries with lower environmental impacts,” the document says.

Additionally, policymakers agreed to introduce stricter rules for durability and performance.

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