The EU Battery Regulation implies significant changes for the battery industry – this is how much recycled metals need to be used in the future

The EU Battery Regulation, which came into effect in August 2023, aims to keep the growth of battery demand and its environmental impacts sustainable and manageable. The regulation brings significant changes to the battery industry, but at the same time, increasing recycling and the use of recycled materials can create new business opportunities for the industry.

The demand for batteries is expected to increase up to 14 times between 2018 and 2030, partly due to the electrification of transportation. The new battery regulation aims to keep this growth controlled and sustainable. A key goal of the regulation is to enhance the recovery and reuse of valuable materials contained in batteries.

Saara Tuhkanen, Development Manager at Weeefiner, points out that this growth brings about changes throughout the entire battery industry value chain, from manufacturing to sales. At the same time, it can open up new business opportunities related to metal recovery and utilization.

“As a company specialized in metal recovery, changes like the battery regulation are significant for us, as we actively promote the sustainable circulation of raw materials. At the same time, the regulation opens up new collaboration opportunities for our customers, which, in return, can benefit all parties involved.”

Strict recycling targets for battery metals from the EU

The goals set by the Battery Regulation are significant. In addition to emphasizing the collection of batteries and accumulators, the regulation also imposes specific requirements for the recovery of collected batteries and the use of recycled materials in the production of new batteries.

As a result of the regulation, the usage obligation for recycled metals by 2031 is 85% for lead, 16% for cobalt, and 6% for both lithium and nickel. Furthermore, by the end of 2027, 90% of cobalt, copper, lead, and nickel must be recovered from collected batteries and accumulators, along with 50% of lithium. By 2031, the recovery requirement increases to 95% for cobalt, copper, lead, and nickel, and 80% for lithium.

Usage obligation for recycled metals in batteries by 2031

The regulation also includes other obligations related to, among other things, monitoring carbon footprint, performance requirements, informing consumers and repairers, and the amount of hazardous substances in batteries.

New business opportunities from recovery and recycling

Weeefiner’s CEO, Mikko Hänninen, believes that the battery regulation will challenge industrial players to seek new and innovative approaches to collect and recycle battery metals.

“Where will the recycled raw materials for batteries come from? Some metals can certainly be recycled from old batteries, but the recycling process is lengthy, and the demand for batteries is constantly growing. Not everything can be recycled, even in the most optimistic scenarios, so alternative sources of raw materials are needed,” explains Mikko Hänninen.

“At Weeefiner, we believe that the answer lies in water. Many of our industrial clients accumulate significant amounts of valuable battery metals in their by-products, process streams, and wastewaters. Although there is a desire for metal recovery, the challenge often lies in the fact that these metals are worthless or even harmful in these processes. We hope that the battery regulation inspires industrial players to create circular value chains where untapped metals can be utilized as raw materials for example in the battery industry.

More information about the EU Battery Regulation:

Battery regulation in different languages

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