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The European Green Deal addresses the social, economic and environmental issues related to all types of batteries. One of the key goals is sustainable batteries throughout their life cycle which are necessary for green transport, clean energy and zero-pollution ambition.
Batteries placed on the European market should become sustainable, high-performing and safe throughout their life cycle. This means that batteries should be produced with the lowest possible environmental impact, using materials obtained in compliance with human rights and social and environmental standards. At the end of their life, they must be reused, refurbished or recycled, allowing valuable materials such as cobalt, lithium, nickel and lead to be returned to the economy.
Competitive sustainability in Europe
The demand for batteries is growing rapidly and is expected to increase 14-fold by 2030. This development is mainly due to electric transport, which makes this market an increasingly strategic market worldwide. Such exponential growth in the global demand for batteries will lead to an equivalent increase in the demand for raw materials, hence the need to minimise their impact on the environment. The development of a more sustainable and competitive battery industry across Europe and around the world is essential.
Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations Maroš Šefčovič said:
This ambitious framework on transparent and ethical sourcing of raw materials, carbon-footprint of batteries, and recycling is an essential element to achieve open strategic autonomy in this critical sector and accelerate our work under the European Battery Alliance.
As announced in the Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Commission wants to modernise EU legislation on batteries and proposes mandatory requirements for all batteries placed on the EU market. Requirements will touch the topics of:
- the use of responsibly sourced materials with restricted use of hazardous substances
- the minimum content of recycled materials
- carbon footprint
- durability and labelling
- meeting collection
- recycling targets
In addition, legal certainty will unlock large-scale investment and boost the production capacity for innovative and sustainable batteries in Europe and beyond to meet the rapid growth of the market.
Reducing the environmental impact of batteries
Better and more efficient batteries will make a key contribution to the electrification of road transport, significantly reducing its emissions, increasing the take-up of electric vehicles and promoting a higher share of renewable sources in the EU's energy mix.
From 1 July 2024, only rechargeable batteries for industrial and electric vehicles for which a carbon footprint declaration has been established can be placed on the market. The Commission also aims to stimulate the circular economy of battery value chains and to promote more efficient use of resources in order to minimise the environmental impact of batteries.
The Commission proposes to establish new requirements and targets on the content of recycled materials and collection, treatment and recycling of batteries at the end-of-life part.
To significantly improve the collection and recycling of portable batteries, the current collection rate of 45% should increase to 65% in 2025 and 70% in 2030 so that the battery materials are not lost to the economy. Industrial, automotive or electric vehicle batteries should be fully collected. All collected batteries must be recycled and high levels of recovery must be achieved, especially for valuable materials.
The proposed regulation sets out a framework that will facilitate the repurposing of batteries in electric vehicles so that they can have a second life, for example as stationary energy storage systems, or integration into electricity grids as energy resources.
Secure data sharing
The use of new IT technologies, including the battery passport and interconnected data space, will be essential for secure data sharing, increasing transparency of the battery market and traceability of big batteries throughout their life cycle. It will enable manufacturers to develop innovative products and services in both green and digital transition.
Source: European Commission