New EU batteries regulation step towards ‘climate-neutrality’

RECHARGE, the European industry association for rechargeable and lithium batteries, has welcomed new EU batteries regulations which it says could lead towards ‘climate-neutrality’.

Discarded Batteries
The Batteries Regulations, which were adopted by the European Council on Tuesday (11 July), establish waste collection and material recovery targets that will increase at set points over the next decade. Additionally, they restrict the use of hazardous materials in battery production and require the due diligence of suppliers – who will have to demonstrate that their materials were sourced in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

The council hopes these regulations will help to promote a circular economy and push towards decarbonisation while also reducing the impacts of battery production by ‘regulating the entire life cycle’ of the batteries used within the EU. 

Additional EU batteries regulation

The regulation follows the proposal of The Critical Raw Materials Act and The Net Zero Industry Act by the European Commission earlier this year, which seek to reduce the dependency of EU member states on global supply chains by reinforcing more renewable and circular domestic production capabilities.

The Critical Raw Materials Act looks towards securing a robust, affordable and sustainable supply of raw materials for European member states. It identifies a list of ‘strategic’ materials that are crucial to Europe’s green and technological ambitions, but which may be subject to supply risks in the future.

The act will reduce the administrative burden on new critical materials projects in the EU, in an attempt to make them easier to establish, but will also require that member states adopt national measures to improve the collection and recycling of waste that is rich in critical materials, including the copper, cobalt, lithium, nickel and lead now set to be recovered as part of the Batteries Regulations.

The Net Zero Industry Act seeks to strengthen and scale up the manufacturing capacities of net zero technologies in Europe by lowering the administrative burdens placed upon them. The Commission hopes that streamlining the regulatory frameworks surrounding these technologies will encourage investment and innovation.

The act sets a target for net zero technologies to meet 40 per cent of the EU’s annual deployment needs by 2030, which it hopes will result in a cleaner and more resilient energy supply chain in Europe, one that avoids the disruptions that might come with reliance on global markets.

RECHARGE responds to new batteries regulation

Responding to the new batteries regulation, Kinga Timaru-Kast, the Director for Public Affairs and Communications a RECHARGE, said: “Carbon intensity and due diligence provisions have the potential to not only prevent underperforming batteries from entering the EU market, but to truly work towards the climate-neutrality and sustainability objectives of the EU.

“The new EU Batteries Regulation, together with the Critical Raw Materials Act and the Net Zero Industry Act, have the potential to shape the future for a competitive and sustainable battery value chain.

“At RECHARGE, we will focus on areas such as safety, sustainability and traceability. In addition to the publication of the Regulation, we are also looking forward to the Commission’s guidelines to support the implementation of Article 11 on the removability and replaceability of batteries, a work we are closely following.”

Article 11 of the Batteries Regulation requires that manufacturers of certain products (those which do not need integrated batteries or a continuous power supply) must design them so their batteries can be easily removed and replaced by the end user.

RECHARGE states that it will ‘remain supportive during development of the secondary legislation’ around the regulations, and is already looking ahead towards the implementation phase.

As Claude Chanson, RECHARGE General Manager, states: “It is key that the Regulation can deliver on advancing the decarbonisation and energy transition in the EU, and that the European batteries value chain becomes a competitive global leader, able to set sustainability standards globally.”

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