European battery manufacturers unhappy with eco-design and recycling proposals

Industry body Recharge says it would be absurd if the makers of small batteries were required by law to collect and recycle products the size of shipping containers, and claim a requirement individual battery cells be replaceable will pose a safety risk.

With the European Parliament today set to debate proposals for the regulations which will govern the bloc’s hoped-for battery manufacturing industry, the membership body representing battery makers is pushing back on various eco-design and recycling requirements of the rules.

Industry body Recharge has leveled criticism at four proposed amendments to the regulations, which were tabled by the parliament’s committee on the environment, public health and food safety.

A statement issued by Recharge yesterday said the suggestion individual battery cells must be removable and replaceable in European products would pose a safety risk, given the requirement all cells in a battery must be absolutely identical.

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Claude Chanson, general manager of Recharge, quoted in a press release issued by the organization, said: “Design requirements regarding the removability of individual cells inside batteries will jeopardize longevity and the safety of batteries.”

The membership body said a requirement batteries used in automotive and specifically electric vehicle (EV) applications, plus industrial batteries, should also be removable and replaceable was impractical because of the variety of types of product and their uses. Recharge said such batteries are currently used in settings as diverse as nuclear power plant back-up systems, high-speed trains, airplanes, and offshore platforms.

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Recharge also criticized a definition of battery manufacturers as “producer” of their products when supplying them to original equipment manufacturers in the same EU state, and said universal requirements for battery makers to have to take back and recycle products made by other companies in different industrial segments was impractical and potentially dangerous.

On the latter point, the industry body said the proposal for a rule similar to that applied in the EU to waste electrical and electronic equipment – that manufacturers be required to accept and recycle products whether made in their own factories or not – might mean a company which made small batteries for use in gas meters could be required to collect and recycle containerized, industrial scale products.

Take-back

The Recharge statement read: “The take-back obligation on industrial and EV batteries must be limited to the products that a producer has placed on the market and must not require to take back products that were placed on the market by other producers, regardless [of] the size of their business … Such an obligation … is not justified and would potentially lead to impossible or unsafe situations.”

European Parliament MEPs are due to vote on the batteries regulation proposed by the European Commission – including the amendments proposed by the parliament’s committee on the environment, public health and food safety – tomorrow.

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