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Julia Hobohm in an interview considering the changes to the EU Battery Regulation; photo credit GRS Batterien Service GmbH
19. February 2024

EU Battery Regulation

The Battery Regulation entered into effect on 18 February 2024. Under the European Green Deal, the circular economy for batteries needs to be improved, with more environmentally responsible use of resources for their manufacture.

We asked Julia Hobohm, international battery and system expert at the Saubermacher Group and managing director of GRS Service GmbH, about the most important changes.

The EU Battery Regulation was announced on 28 July 2023 and will apply in all EU Member States with effect from 18 February 2024 (with some exceptions). Who exactly is affected?

Hobohm: The new EU Battery Regulation entered into effect on 17 August 2023, started to apply on 18 February 2024 and provides for a gradual implementation of the individual regulations:

  • Companies must ensure the removability and interchangeability of device batteries and LMT batteries starting 18 February 2027.
  • Starting 18 August 2024, economic operators will be subject to obligations that go beyond due diligence and end-of-life management.
  • Aside from exceptions, regulations on conformity assessment procedures for batteries will also apply from 18 August 2024 onwards.
  • Starting 18 August 2025, regulations for the disposal of end-of-life batteries must be complied with.
  • By 18 August 2025, EU Member States must establish sanctions for violations of the Regulation, which must be effective, proportionate and act as a suitable deterrent.

The Battery Regulation requires a joint effort on the part of manufacturers, importers and distributors of all types of battery sold on the EU market to make significant changes to marking, end-of-life management and due diligence in the supply chain.

What are the most important new features of the Regulation and what do they mean for the environment and society?

Hobohm: The EU Battery Regulation is a product regulation for the product lifecycle as a whole, from procurement of the raw materials to manufacture of the batteries, sale and distribution, use, reuse, to the end of the battery’s service life, i.e. collection, disassembly and recycling.

The most important new features are the introduction of new types of battery, new collection rates, a minimum recycled content for certain types of battery, new requirements for removability and interchangeability, rules on determining the carbon footprint, minimum requirements on durability and performance capability, a prohibition of non-rechargeable, general-purpose batteries and the introduction of a battery passport.

What effects will the new Battery Regulation have on Europe as a business destination, especially in terms of battery manufacture and disposal?

Hobohm: The new rules will promote the competitiveness of European industry and ensure that new batteries play their part in the green transition. Its aim is to see batteries designed more sustainably and their proper collection, reuse and recycling.

The core objective of the new regulations is also to improve the functioning of the internal market for batteries and to ensure fairer competition through safety, sustainability and marking requirements. It is also expected that the new EU Battery Regulation will become a global standard, exceeding similar regulations in its attempts to regulate battery sustainability, safety and end-of-life management.

Ing. Dr. Julia Hobohm, managing director of GRS Service GmbH, deputy board spokesperson of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Abfallwirtschaft e. V. as well as member of the International Advisory Panel and Battery Stewardship Council; photo credit GRS Batterien Service GmbH
Ing. Dr. Julia Hobohm, managing director of GRS Service GmbH, deputy board spokesperson of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Abfallwirtschaft e. V. as well as member of the International Advisory Panel and Battery Stewardship Council; photo credit GRS Batterien Service GmbH

New or higher collection targets are also planned. What is needed to ensure that they are met?

Hobohm: The current collection rate for old device batteries under the Battery Directive, 45 per cent, is to be raised to 63 per cent by the end of 2027 and to 73 per cent by the end of 2030. Minimum collection rates have also been introduced for the new LMT battery type – 51 per cent by the end of 2028 and 61 per cent by the end of 2031. Collection targets must be realistic, and the formula developed by the JRC (Joint Research Centre of the EU) to calculate the available-for-collection rate, which includes battery lifespan and hoarding effects, must be based on industry data. New return systems must still be developed and implemented.

Transparency and information are cornerstones of the new Regulation. What role do digital solutions play in this regard? Are players in the circular economy sufficiently well positioned?

Hobohm: Starting in 2024, manufacturers in Europe will be required to disclose the carbon footprint of their batteries; three years later, in 2027, they will need to adhere to a limit value for carbon emissions, which will be governed by the EU and verified by independent auditors. Whoever sells the battery will be responsible for ensuring that it is in possession of a battery passport, i.e. the manufacturer of electric vehicles (EV) in the case of EV batteries or the battery manufacturer itself if the battery is the end product, such as in storage systems.

Detailed information about the composition of the battery as well as information regarding disassembly, must be made available to those defined by the Regulation as “interested parties”. This decision will be of crucial importance for companies that need to reconcile demands for greater transparency with the need to protect the intellectual property of battery chemistry as they compete to manufacture cars and storage systems that are ever more efficient.

If you would like to stay up to date on the topic of waste management, you can subscribe to the industry podcast with Julia Hobohm and Tom Wilfler.

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