New EU battery regulation:
towards a sustainable, circular transformation of the battery value chain
Photo: noah900 / Adobe Stock
The new EU battery regulation aims to provide a holistic blueprint for future initiatives seeking to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) into value chains. The aim of this framework is to achieve common targets in a range of areas, from recycled content to due diligence and carbon footprinting.
Taking into account the strategic relevance of energy storage devices for the materialization of sustainable development, energy transition and climate neutrality, the European Union has adopted a new regulation for sustainable batteries. This regulation targets all stages of the life cycle from design to waste treatment [1].

Based on a battery industry consensus, several regulation categories have been identified. The aim is to achieve the implementation of sound legislation that embraces future sustainable and innovative battery developments:

Own elaboration based on The Battery Pass Consortium, 2023 [2]
It is also worth noting that this new cradle to end-of-life regulatory framework amends the Waste Directive 2008/98/EC and Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 and also repeals the Batteries and Accumulators Directive 2006/66/EC [3].

This is aimed at establishing rules on the sustainability, performance, safety, collection, recycling and second life of batteries, as well as on information on batteries for end-users and economic operators. Thus, the creation of a harmonized approach is enabled in order to deal with the entire life cycle of batteries put into service within in the European Union, regardless of whether they were produced in the Union or imported [4], [5].
Representation of the value chain approach proposed by the European Battery Alliance [6]
Accordingly, collected batteries have to be recycled and certain levels of recovery have to be achieved, in particular regarding valuable materials such as copper, cobalt, lithium, nickel and lead. This will guarantee that valuable materials are recovered at the end-of-life and brought back in the economy by adopting stricter targets for recycling efficiency and material recovery over time.
Hence, recycling should achieve at least the following recycling efficiency targets by December 31st, 2025:

  • 75%
    recycling of 75% by average weight of lead-acid batteries
  • 65%
    recycling of 65 % by average weight of lithium-based batteries
  • 80%
    recycling of 80 % by average weight of nickel-cadmium batteries
  • 50%
    recycling of 50 % by average weight of other waste batteries
In addition, by December 31st, 2027 at the latest, all recycling shall achieve at least the following material recovery targets:

• 90 % for cobalt;
• 90 % for copper;
• 90 % for lead;
• 50 % for lithium;
• 90 % for nickel.

Concerning the carbon footprint, the following are the life cycle stages and the processes involved therein to be included in the system boundary [3]:
In line with this, all economic operators placing batteries on the EU market will be required to develop and implement a due diligence policy, consistent with international standards, to address the social and environmental risks linked to sourcing, processing and trading of raw materials [7].

In order to increase transparency along value chains for all stakeholders, the battery regulation requires the provision of a digital battery passport that maximizes the exchange of data and enables tracking and tracing of batteries. This tool is intended to provide information about the carbon intensity of their manufacturing processes as well as of the materials consumed.

With that in mind, the European Commission (EC) has defined a product passport as a product-specific data set, which can be electronically accessed through a data carrier to "electronically register, process and share product-related information amongst supply chain businesses, authorities and consumers". The digital product passport (DPP) will then provide information on the source, composition, repair and disassembly possibilities of a product, including how the various components can be recycled or disposed of at end-of-life [8].
Source: jpgon / Adobe Stock
Furthermore, the battery passport establishes a digital twin of the physical battery that conveys information about all applicable sustainability and lifecycle requirements based on a comprehensive definition of a sustainable battery [9].

To this effect, the battery passport shall deliver information to the public on the batteries placed on the market and their sustainability requirements, enabling remanufacturers, second-life operators, recyclers and special actors to access up-to-date and tailored information for the handling of batteries. Examples of this type of information include place of production, product composition, origin of materials, circularity properties, remaining useful life, state of charge and state-of-health of the battery.

In Circular Valley we will follow the evolution concerning the implementation of this new regulation. Moreover, in our next issue we will take a closer look at the digital product passport and its implications for the battery value chain.


[1] EU Council, "Council adopts new regulation on batteries and waste batteries," Jul. 2023. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2023/07/10/council-adopts-new-regulation-on-batteries-and-waste-batteries/ (accessed Aug. 24, 2023).
[2] The Battery Pass Consortium, "Battery Passport Content Guidance -Executive Summary-," 2023. Accessed: Aug. 23, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://thebatterypass.eu/resources/
[3] European Parliament and EU Council, Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning batteries and waste batteries. EUR-Lex, 2023. Accessed: Aug. 24, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32023R1542&qid=1692883263817
[4] European Parlament and EU Council, Verordnung (EU) des Europäischen Parlaments und des Rates über Batterien und Altbatterien. EU: EUR-Lex, 2023. Accessed: Aug. 22, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/DE/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32023R1542
[5] MINESPIDER, "The Guide to the EU Battery Regulation," May 2023. https://www.minespider.com/blog/the-guide-to-the-eu-battery-regulation (accessed Aug. 24, 2023).
[6] InnoEnergy, "EBA250," Battery Value Chain, 2023. https://www.eba250.com/about-eba250/value-chain/ (accessed Aug. 23, 2023).
[7] European Parliament, "Batteries: deal on new EU rules for design, production and waste treatment," Dec. 2022. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221205IPR60614/batteries-deal-on-new-eu-rules-for-design-production-and-waste-treatment (accessed Aug. 24, 2023).
[8] The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, CLG Europe, The Wuppertal Institute, and We Mean Business Coalition, "Digital product passport: the ticket to achieving a climate neutral and circular European economy?," Cambridge, 2022. Accessed: Aug. 23, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://epub.wupperinst.org/frontdoor/index/index/start/1/rows/10/sortfield/year_sort/sortorder/desc/searchtype/simple/query/digital+product+passport/docId/8049
[9] Global Battery Alliance, "Actions Partnerships Battery Passport," 2022. https://www.globalbattery.org/battery-passport/ (accessed Aug. 24, 2023).
José Diez-Rodríguez
Technology Scout / TraWeBa Project @ Circular Valley®