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European Union’s mandatory Battery Passport sustainability effort starts to take shape

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The first publicly available guidance on the European Union’s Battery Passport has been released by the consortium tasked with supporting the flagship sustainability and transparency effort.

Part of the European Union (EU) directive on batteries which the bloc is introducing in phases in the coming years, the passport would make all components and materials used in batteries tracked and traceable in a central ledger.

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The ledger will include information about the devices’ carbon footprint, safety certification and supply chain due diligence, among other metrics.

While the wider directive includes requirements for batteries to include an increasing proportion of recycled content and stringent carbon emissions reporting, the passport is perhaps the most radical of the directive’s proposed regulations. It would be Europe’s first-ever digital product passport (DPP) of any kind.

The Battery Pass Consortium, convened to support the implementation of the Battery Passport, officially handed over its new guidance to German parliamentary state secretary Michael Kellner of the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) at the Hannover Messe industry fair.

Led by technology and information systems design company SystemIQ with 11 German industry partners including Audi, BMW Group and BASF, the consortium was formed in 2022 with a three-year remit that encompassed creating a demonstrator passport and creating content and technical standards.

Kellner said the guidance “will help companies developing battery passports to shape these efficiently and in accordance with EU law”.

“It may also be a sound foundation for the evolution of digital product passports in general which will be rolled out in other sectors in the future.”

What is the Battery Passport?

It applies to batteries used in light transport applications, industrial batteries of over 2kWh capacity (including stationary battery energy storage systems (BESS) as a sub-category), and electric vehicle (EV) batteries, with the passport to be required from 42 months after the EU’s battery regulation comes into force.

Responsibility for having one will be put in the hands of the “economic operator” who placed the battery on the market. This is an interesting point because previous EU language around the passport implied manufacturers would be responsible.

In turn, battery trade group RECHARGE had argued in favour of the “economic operator” rule. RECHARGE said it would be difficult for the manufacturer to effectively trace and take back all end-of-life materials, as reported by Energy-Storage.news in December last year.

It’s also worth noting that the regulation will also cover flow batteries, with fellow trade group Flow Batteries Europe (FBE) celebrating their inclusion earlier this year. They had been omitted from early draft proposals, as the rules covered lithium-ion and other types of electrochemical batteries but the EU had limited its definition to batteries with internal storage.  

In short, batteries will need to be tracked in terms of:

  • general product and manufacturer information
  • carbon footprint
  • supply chain due diligence
  • materials and composition
  • circularity and resource efficiency
  • performance and durability  

Guidance issued today also includes a long list of attributes that data should be provided for, most of which is mandatory but some also voluntary. For instance, stationary BESS batteries must provide data on the number of deep discharge events, but for most other types of battery, that would be voluntary data.

Download the Battery Pass consortium’s guidance here.

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