New EU Batteries Regulation: EU co-legislators reach an agreement

On 9 December 2022, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement to overhaul EU rules on batteries, two years after the Commission’s proposal. This new regulation will set requirements to make batteries more sustainable, performant and durable. The agreement targets the entire life cycle from design to end-of-life of batteries in order to promote a circular economy. This new regulation will play a significant role in setting new rules for a next type of competition based on sustainability.

This provisional agreement that addresses social, economic and environmental matters is related to all types of batteries in the EU, including industrial and stationary ones. The agreement sets out new types of requirements concerning production, recycling and repurposing of batteries related to:

  • Addressing battery raw materials issues
  • Limiting batteries’ footprint
  • Increasing the content recycling
  • Simplifying batteries removal and replacement

The extraction of metals used in the production of batteries has led to controversy. Therefore, the implementation of a due diligence policy that addresses abuses in the supply of raw materials is planned. This agreement sets due diligence rules for operators who must verify the source of new materials used for batteries placed on the market, with an exemption for SMEs.

The new rules aim to improve the functioning of the internal market for batteries and ensure fairer competition thanks to the safety, sustainability and labelling requirements. Larger industrial batteries, among others, will be required to display a “carbon footprint declaration”, outlining the carbon expended in production. Then, batteries will carry labels and QR codes with information related to their capacity, performance, durability and chemical composition.

Finally, requirements on the end-of-life of batteries will be established. The agreement provides targets for produces to collect waste batteries and minimum level of recycled content. For instance, the agreement sets a recycling efficiency target for nickel-cadmium batteries of 80% by 2025 and other waste batteries of 50% by 2025.

The implementation of further concepts will help to achieve energy transition and strategic autonomy. The concept of recycling efficiency establishes the weight percentage of the used battery that is recycled. The concept of recovery rate implies the percentage of metal content that must be recovered from the used battery. The concept of recycled content provides the percentage of metals in a new battery that has come from a recycled origin.

Parliament and Council will have to formally approve the agreement before it comes into force.

What about BALIHT ?

Redox Flow Batteries (RFB) are not mentioned in the proposed text but our project is mentioned in the Staff Working Document accompanying the legislative text as part of batteries projects funded under H2020 programme. The document recalled that thorough consideration has been taken of the market and of Europe’s research agenda, so the revision is careful to avoid being overly restrictive in order to support innovation. Indeed, proofing legislation means striking a proper balance between predictability and legal certainty and allowing the sector to respond to technological progress.

Our battery avoids the use of critical raw materials, notably because its technology relies on aqueous solution with organic-based electrolytes, and other non-precious materials.

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