Battery Passport set to spark true sustainable e-mobility
E-mobility will play a crucial role in Europe’s energy transition. By 2030, the EU aims to have at least 30 million zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs) on its roads. A boom in EV sales, also means a boom in rechargeable batteries, and these should be sustainably produced, consumed and recycled if we wish a true sustainable e-mobility. The upcoming Battery Passport will fill this missing link.
Mitigating a range of sourcing risks
Batteries are often in the eye of the storm of e-mobility debates. The sourcing of EV battery materials can pose significant social and environmental risks. These include child labour, loss of biodiversity, pollution, unsafe working conditions and many more. Obviously, this greatly impacts the sustainability of the end product.
As a pioneer in rechargeable battery materials, Umicore has been committed to controlling such risks from the very beginning. More than 15 years ago, we were the first company to introduce and implement a Sustainable Procurement Framework for Cobalt and today we play a leading role in projects like Re|Source, a pilot blockchain solution for end-to-end cobalt traceability. The key to maximum sustainability, however, lies in looking at the full lifecycle of batteries.
Battery passport: going full circle
“Sustainable consumption, recycling and end-of-life management of batteries are more than secondary priorities,” says Christian Hagelüken, Director EU Government Affairs at Umicore. “By introducing a comprehensive digital passport that provides reliable information and data on every life stage of the battery, Umicore and other members of the Global Battery Alliance want to enhance transparency and transform the entire value chain.”
A glimpse at some of the questions that the Battery Passport will answer::
Stage 1: Sourcing and production
- Which materials have been used and where did they come from?
- Were all environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria met during sourcing?
- What is the carbon footprint of the battery?
Stage 2: Use phase
- Has the battery been in an accident?
- Are replacement parts authentic?
- How long has the battery been used for and what is its current state-of-health?
Stage 3: Second life
- Has the battery entered into a second life with a subsequent recycling solution?
- If it was repurposed, where is it now and what is it being used for?
- Were the companies certified for their activities?
Stage 4: Recycling and end of life
- Has the battery left Europe and was the export legitimate?
- Who is involved in these final steps? Are the companies certified?
- How much and what type of materials have been recovered in which quality?
The importance of this entire battery value chain can hardly be overestimated. A battery passport will enhance transparency at all stages. Ultimately, it will create a commercial level playing field for the sustainable and high quality management of batteries. All efforts will be visible for OEMs, consumers, governments, NGOs and any other interested parties, who can then value these.
Similar to our own personal passports
“The Battery Passports will resemble our own personal passports,” explains Christian Hagelüken. “Just as our passports mention static data, such as name and place of birth, the battery passports will contain static data about used materials, production methods, etc. Moreover, they will provide information on where the batteries have been and which parties come in contact with them – similar to the national entry/exit stamps and visas in our personal passports. It’s a milestone with regard to traceability and accountability, and it’s very likely that the battery passport will service as a blueprint for other product passports.”
Quality seal for batteries
The Battery Passport’s role in underpinning a responsible battery value chain is being endorsed in global policy discussions, including the EU Regulation on Batteries, that foresees a passport for every industrial battery and EV battery placed on the market from January 2026 onwards. As a quality seal it enables the eradication of unacceptable practices from a social, environmental and technical performance perspective. In short, the Battery Passport will allow progress tracking of the entire industry while helping to set new standards.
“We’re proud to be a founding member of this concept within the Global Battery Alliance and beyond and look forward to continue sharing our expertise, know-how and experience in battery materials as well as recycling on all levels.”
Umicore RBM raises the bar in sustainability!