January 14, 2021: EUROBAT on January 7 issued an initial response to a proposal for what could be the most, significant EU legislation on batteries since 2006, saying that broadly the approach was good, but that there were concerns.
The proposal, which EUROBAT does not believe will be implemented until the middle of 2022, was made for several reasons, not least of which is so that the battery industry can participate in Europe’s ‘clean energy transition’.
To achieve aims such as increasing battery production by enough to see a reduction in CO2 emissions, the EU says it is essential to address the lack of policy framework, incentives, efficiency within the single market, sub-optimal recycling processes and supply chain problems; and this is what its proposal sets out to achieve.
While welcoming the European Commission’s proposal to promote ‘green batteries’ made in Europe by restricting access to non-sustainable batteries, the response says the scope of the proposed measures is too wide-ranging and deviates from the original intention, without due consideration of technical expertise.
“It is unacceptable that the Commission wants to take the place of national technical experts on matters which are by mature extremely technical, and that refer to how the products are designed, produced and operated,” it says.
“We therefore strongly suggest removing Article 16 in its entirety, and to allow national, European and international standardisation committees to do their work on standards development.”
Another concern raised in the response is the lack of content in the proposal regarding recycling.
“The Commission did not address any of the concerns that emerged during the stakeholders’ meeting, and correctly reported in the Impact Assessment,” it says.
“For instance, there is no clarification on how the recycled content can be calculated and verified, above all for imported batteries, with the concrete risk of damaging the EU battery industry vis-à-vis international competitors.”
It says the push for second-life applications is in direct contradiction with high levels of recycled content in new batteries and that the measure should not apply to batteries across the board regardless of their characteristics.
The battery association suggests policy makers streamline their administrative processes and cut red tape, for instance by avoiding duplicating processes and simplifying its labelling.
“We worked with the EU prior to the publication of their proposal,” said Gert Meylemans, communications director with EUROBAT.
“Our next focus in terms of EU policy makers will be the EU Parliament and Council, as well as the national ministries. In a few months it will be time for amendments to the regulation from the European Parliament and Council, which will be negotiated in what we call triologues. However, before that happens, the EP and the Council need to develop their own position to start the negotiations with the EU Commission, which wants to have it done by the end of this year.
“For us, and other relevant stakeholders, this is too ambitious. We would say mid-2022 at the very best.”