The EU is expected to implement the new battery regulation in summer 2023. In January 2023, the complete text outlining the regulation was released. What does it mean for companies that use batteries for industrial equipment? What about companies that produce industrial batteries, like Celltech Solutions? This article aims to answer those questions.
The new EU battery regulation is part of The European Green Deal. It focuses on developing a circular economy in Europe for battery raw materials. Additionally, it enhances the functionality and safety of batteries. The EU Commission, Council, and Parliament came to an agreement on the regulation’s content at the end of 2022. With transition periods ranging from 12 to 36 months for most criteria, now is a good time to start preparing for the changes.
The new EU battery regulation’s most significant modifications
The new EU battery regulation examines every aspect of a battery’s lifecycle, from the mines where the materials are extracted, to the refineries where the batteries are manufactured, to the markets where they are sold as well as to recycling facilities. The goal is to reach a point where Europe has a genuine circular economy for batteries.
The following changes will have the most considerable effects on professional battery users:
- Performance and durability requirements for both rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries
- Portable batteries must be designed to be removable and replaceable
- Extensive labelling prerequisites for all batteries
- QR code on all batteries with link to technical data
- EU declaration of conformity and CE marking
- Requirements for economic actors who sell batteries to conduct due diligence. The obligation extends to businesses that import batteries for use in their own goods or operations, as well as producers, importers, and distributors. Small businesses are the only ones exempt from these requirements. To avoid having to create their own battery due diligence program, many equipment makers and service providers will probably stop importing batteries in the future.
- Requirements for internal production controls and quality assurance, confirmed by a certified 3rd party authority, as well as mandatory conformity evaluation by the manufacturer
- Green public battery procurement process for public tenders (also for equipment with incorporated batteries)
- Reusing and producing new batteries from discarded ones (second life)
- Stricter waste battery collecting goals, minimum standards for recycling effectiveness, and requirements for material recovery
Requirements of EU legislation for big batteries
The new regulation specifies specific standards for rechargeable industrial batteries with a capacity above 2 kWh, for light vehicles (LMT) batteries, and for electric vehicles (EV) batteries. These specifications apply to stationary lead-acid and NiCd batteries with capacities beginning as low as 170 Ah @ 12 V as well as large li-ion batteries.
- Carbon footprint: battery performance class labels and declarations are required.
- Minimum documented percentage of raw materials recycled from cobalt, lead, lithium, and nickel
- Digital Battery Passport, accessed by scanning the battery’s QR code.
- Parameters for electrotechnical performance and durability that have been verified and documented
- Industrial battery collection and recycling must be handled similarly to how consumer batteries are now, including creating a free nationwide collection network. The current EU Battery Directive allows the manufacturer and the purchaser of industrial batteries to agree on the location of the batteries’ return and the manner in which the costs associated with recycling are to be split. The new legislation calls for a local Producer Responsibility Organization to manage the collecting system and recycling of big industrial li-ion batteries in practice. Celltech is actively involved in establishing such a collection and recycling program in Finland.
- Stationary battery energy storage systems must pass several safety tests, including fire tests. In addition, one year following the regulation’s implementation date, proof of compliance with the stationary storage system must be available.
- The rule emphasizes the need for relevant CEN, CENELEC, and IEC standards to validate its requirements.
At Celltech, we have already begun putting the new rules into practice. By collaborating with us locally, you avoid the responsibilities that come with battery importation. The new EU Battery Regulation raises many questions and presents many opportunities for sustainability, which we are pleased to discuss.