EU Parliament and Council agree on new EU Battery Regulation

On December 9, 2022 the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on a new regulation on batteries and waste batteries, covering a framework of rules regarding design, production and waste treatment of batteries. In this blog post, Intertek’s Maria Wesselmark and Andreas Nyman discuss the regulation and its implications on industry.

13 December 2022

A circular economy is a model of production and consumption that reduces waste to a minimum. In practice, it can be achieved by reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. The European Union wants to promote circular economy processes and therefore published a new circular economy action plan in March 2020. In the plan, batteries and vehicles were identified as one of seven key product value chains where they planned to introduce legislative and non-legislative measures to promote a circular economy. In December 2020, the EU commission published a proposal for a new EU Battery Regulation to replace and expand the requirements in the current EU Battery Directive.

This proposal has been discussed in the European Parliament and in the European Council. In March this year, the Parliament and the Council each published different version of amendments to the Commission’s proposal, and stated they were ready to start negotiations to reach an agreement. To pass the new EU battery legislation, the Parliament and the Council must agree on an identical text. This agreement is achieved through so called trilogue negotiations, i.e. informal meetings between representatives from the Parliament, the Council and the Commission.

On Friday 9th of December 2022, the Council and the Parliament made public that they have come to a provisional agreement which will eventually be formally accepted by the two institutions before it can come into force.

Current legislation

Today, the Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators (the Batteries Directive) is the main legal act regulating batteries at EU level. The directive applies to all types of batteries, no matter their chemical nature, size, or design, with the exception of batteries used in equipment to protect EU countries’ security or for military purposes, or in equipment designed to be sent into space.

In summary, the Battery Directive:

  • sets maximum quantities for mercury and cadmium content (portable batteries),
  • tasks Member States with encouraging improvements to the environmental performance of batteries,
  • stipulates that it must be possible to remove batteries readily and safely. Thus, appliances incorporating batteries must be accompanied by instructions on how these can be safely removed by either the end-user or by independent qualified professionals.
  • puts requirements on proper waste management of batteries,
  • sets waste battery collection rates,
  • sets financial responsibility for programs,
  • and puts requirements on labelling, marking, and documentation.

In addition to the Battery Directive, other EU directives and regulations such as the End of vehicle Directive (2000/53/EC), the WEEE directive (2012/19/EU) and the REACH regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006) may also put requirements on batteries in products.

The scope of the new battery regulation

The proposal for a regulation concerning batteries and waste batteries, is intended to replace the Battery Directive. In the current proposal, legislative measures are proposed in new areas compared to the current legislation.

The current proposal would apply to all types of categories of batteries and accumulators placed on the market or put into service within the Union, whether on they are designed to be incorporated into or added to products.

The regulation would not apply to batteries used in equipment to protect EU countries’ security or for military purposes, or in equipment designed to be sent into space.

In the EU council’s proposal, batteries are categorized into the following groups, depending on which application they are designed for:

  • Portable batteries (sealed and weighs below 5 kg)
    • Portable batteries of general use (portable batteries with D, C, AA, AAA and 9 V formats)
  • Light means of transport (LMT) batteries (sealed and weights below 25 kg, designed to provide traction to wheeled vehicles including type-approved vehicles of category L)
  • SLI (or Automotive) batteries (designed to supply electric power for starter, lighting, or ignition, may also be used for auxiliary or backup purposes)
  • Electric vehicle batteries (designed to provide traction to hybrid or electric vehicles of type-approved categories M, N and O)
  • Industrial batteries (any battery designed specifically for industrial use and any other battery with a weight above 5 kg excluding LMT batteries, electric vehicle batteries and SLI batteries)

Different requirements will apply depending on which group the battery belongs to. The different versions of the regulation from the parliament and council differs and it is not yet decided exactly which category that will be included in each set of regulation and which levels to obtain and when. Even though details may be changed, the areas to be regulated is listed below based on the current proposals from the parliament and the council:

  • Restriction of substances in batteries, Cd, Hg and Pb (All batteries)
  • Carbon footprint requirements (Industrial with a capacity above 2 kWh, EV and possibly LMT batteries)
  • Recycled content requirements for Co, Li, Pb and Ni (EV, SLI and industrial batteries with a capacity above 2 kWh)
  • Performance and durability requirements (Portable batteries of general use, Industrial and LMT with a capacity above 2 kWh and EV and batteries)
  • Removability and replaceability of batteries (Portable and LMT batteries)
  • Collection rates (Portable and LMT batteries)
  • Waste batteries collected shall enter a recycling (All batteries)
  • Supply chain due diligence of raw materials, Co, natural graphite, Li and Ni based on UN and OECD Guidelines (Industrial and EV batteries)
  • The Battery Management System (BMS) shall contain information about state of health and other parameters and be available for independent operators for repurposing and remanufacturing (Industrial, EV and possibly LMT batteries)
  • Safety of stationary battery energy storage system
  • Labelling and marking, including proposal for the use of QR code (All batteries)
  • It is also proposed that an electronic exchange system is set up for battery information, with the creation of a battery passport (i.e., electronic record) for each individual battery (Industrial and LMT with a capacity above 2 kWh and EV and batteries)
  • In addition, by 31 December 2030, the Commission will assess whether to phase out the use of non-rechargeable portable batteries of general use.

The requirements in the Battery Regulation will be implemented step-by-step, with different target dates and targets for different categories of batteries. Several requirements begin with the demand for a declaration, but then moves on to a threshold value for the declared parameter such as carbon footprint, recycled content, collection rate etc. For some requirements, self-declaration will be sufficient, whereas others will need to be verified by a third party notified body.

CE marking of batteries

The EU commission proposes that all batteries should to be CE-marked. The CE marking will indicate the conformity of that battery with the new EU battery regulation. The plan is for harmonized standards (tests to show compliance with the requirements in the regulations) to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. However, since many of the requirements are not currently covered by EN standards, new EN standards will need to be developed. For other requirements, the EU commission will develop delegated and implementing acts to describe how to fulfil the requirements. At the time of writing, it seems as if a notified body will be required for the conformity assessment of batteries according to carbon footprint, recycled content requirements and supply chain due diligence. Internal production control could then be used for other requirements.

In summary

The requirements in the Battery Regulation will be implemented in a step-by-step process and standards will need to be developed for many of the requirements.

To pass the new EU battery legislation, Parliament and Council have to agree on an identical text. On Friday 9th of December 2022 both parties made public that they had come to an agreement. At this stage, the published versions of the different parties still differ in several aspects and it is not yet clear what the final regulation will look like in detail. The agreed version is likely to be published in the beginning of 2023 and the regulation is then likely to come into force sometime after that.

 

For more information, please refer to:

 

 

Maria Wesselmark, 
Energy Storage & Battery Specialist at Intertek Sweden

Dr Maria Wesselmark is a Senior Battery Specialist and consultant in Intertek’s global energy storage team. She has a Ph.D in Applied Electrochemistry from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm.

Andreas Nyman, 
Energy Storage & Battery Specialist at Intertek Sweden

Dr Andreas Nyman is a Senior Battery Specialist at Intertek. He has a Ph.D in Applied Electrochemistry from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm and has worked with Intertek’s global battery advisory team for over ten years.

 

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