Battery Pass – a lighthouse project laying the foundations for battery value chain transparency
Umicore is a member of a three-year consortium project which aims to set the framework needed for the development of battery passports by 2026.
During 2022, Umicore joined a consortium of leaders from industry and science to launch a ground-breaking new ‘Battery Pass’ project. Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), the project aims to set the data and technical specifications and standards needed to introduce digital passports for Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries in the European Union.
The Battery Pass aims to create transparency, traceability and accountability about the sustainability credentials of an individual battery, showing data such as its climate footprint, ethical labour conditions of raw material extraction and proportion of recycled content.
By securely sharing information and data across different organisations and participants in the EV battery value chain, the aim is to enable due diligence with data that fully describes the sustainability and ethical credentials of all materials that go into a battery.
The development of battery passports in Europe will be mandated by the EU Battery Regulation, that enters into force in the first half of 2023. As such, this three-year project plays an important role in setting the technical and data groundwork that will make battery passports possible. Ultimately, also beyond the EU, the project aims to support global sustainable and circular battery value chains.
Having started in April 2022, the project is led by the system change company SYSTEMIQ and comprises eleven consortium partners spanning industry, research, digital services, battery analysis and tracking. Alongside Umicore, these are Acatech - Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften, Audi, BASF, BMW, Circulor, FIWARE Foundation e.V., Fraunhofer IPK, TWAICE Technologies and VDE Renewables GmbH (through subcontracting).
Together, the consortium partners are working on content and technical standards and IT architecture that will allow decentralised data from multiple areas of the battery value chain to be captured and interact in an open and scalable data exchange. As such, the Battery Pass project is not building a market-ready ‘’product’’, but creating the blueprint on which future battery passports can be developed and put into the market.
With its market-leading battery material manufacturing and recycling capabilities, and as a leader in circular materials technology, Umicore plays a key role in the consortium. Umicore already has extensive experience and learnings on battery supply chain due diligence and traceability, also through the Re|Source project. Working in a consortium together with CMOC, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) and Glencore, this is a blockchain-based solution to track and trace responsibly-sourced cobalt from the mine to the electric vehicle.
The Battery Pass project is not only the first to offer a blueprint for sustainable, circular and responsible value chains in the EV battery sector – it will also be ground-breaking for digital product passes in other industries as well. And, although driven by the EU, the Battery Pass will also lay the foundation for global digital product pass development, across the international battery ecosystem.
As such, The Battery Pass project is also closely linked with the Global Battery Alliance (GBA). Umicore is a founding member of this partnership of over 120 businesses, governments, academics, industry actors, international and non-governmental organisations which was set up to ensure that battery production supports green energy, safeguards human rights and promotes health and environmental sustainability. Through initiatives like this, Umicore is underlining its role as a Sustainability Champion, which is one of the four pillars of the Umicore 2030 RISE strategy. On 18 January 2023, the GBA launched the battery passport proof of concept at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. For the first time, the GBA unveiled illustrative results, including example data from Audi and Tesla and their value chain partners. The prototype Battery Passport data is publicly available to view on the Global Battery Alliance’s website.
Looking ahead, the Battery Pass project supports Umicore’s longstanding circular business model, and commitment to clean mobility. By putting this data in the hands of end-users, the Battery Pass will enable customers to make more informed purchasing decisions and drive sustainable sourcing, processing and manufacturing practices in the industry in the future. As such, the Battery Pass project could power advances across the automotive and energy industry, helping to accelerate the uptake of carbon-free mobility in Europe and across the world.
Box: The Purpose of the Battery Pass project
- Provide transparency to create awareness for people when making buying decisions
- Provide transparency on how battery value stakeholders act
- Prove compliance with the EU Battery Regulation
- Create a level playing field for a stakeholders
- Foster both responsible sourcing and responsible recycling to effectively address climate protection and resource scarcity, hence enabling the shift from linear to circular battery economy