Digital Battery Passports for the Electric Vehicle sector
The Digital Battery Passport (DBP) is key to the European Union’s transition to a circular economy for Electric Vehicles (EVs) and will provide information to enable batteries’ environmental sustainability.
Our role in safety, sustainability and lifecycle requirements
Every light mobility transport battery, industrial battery above 2kW/h and Electric Vehicle Battery (EVB) must soon come with a Digital Battery Passport (DBP), with information linking to safety requirements and the targets for recycled content in batteries. In fact, recent legislation requires that batteries within the scope of the DBP are ‘traceable’ by 2027. More specifically, data must be provided for material sourcing, carbon footprint, percentages of recycled materials used, battery durability, repurposing and recycling guidelines.
There are three key elements to be addressed here:
- the Collaborative Initiative for a Standards-based Digital Product Passport for Stakeholder-Specific Sharing of Product Data for a Circular Economy (CIRPASS)
- the Digital Product Passport (DPP)
- the Digital Battery Passport (DBP)
"As a solutions provider focused on the circular economy, Avery Dennison is paving the way for large-scale adoption of the DBP."
DBP vs DPP
There are a few things we need to be aware of in terms of DBP versus the more general DPP. For starters, the battery passport does not come with the Ecodesign Regulation (ESPR) like the two other product groups – textiles and electronics – that have been tagged to be priority areas for the deployment of DPPs. Rather, it was designed as part of the EU Batteries Regulation, a different piece of legislation that is already finalized, with some provisions already coming into effect in 2023. The timeline and content may therefore be slightly different from the other product groups.
The EU Batteries Regulation as well as the ESPR are part of the EU circular economy action plan (CEAP), which we’ve talked about in our introduction to CIRPASS. Both regulations are part of the same agenda; the European Union’s transition to a circular economy. The Commission wants to enable the tracing of products to enhance supply chain transparency and thereby enable a longer lifetime for products. At the same time, the DBP and the digital passports for the other value chains are regulated by two different pieces of legislation (EU Batteries Regulation and Ecodesign Regulation) and as such, they cannot be mixed up.
Second of all, the scope of the two is quite different as well.
The Digital Product Passport as part of the ESPR is applicable to a vast group of products – from apparel to electronics, from steel to chemicals to detergents – and will have a specific framework in place that will allow the EU to gradually roll out all the passports of all the different product groups, one by one. However, it is as of yet unknown what information will be required for which product groups – this information will only be specified in the future via product-specific delegated acts.
The DBP on the other hand only refers to batteries (although it is applicable to many categories, from EVBs to industrial batteries) and needs to include a specific set of information on the battery's material composition, the location of the battery cell but also carbon footprint, material sourcing and whether it has been repurposed in the past.
As CIRPASS prepares the ground for gradual piloting and deployment of all digital passports, it is tasked to set up the technical infrastructure for both the DBP and the DPP – as the EU wants to avoid having many different passports that don’t communicate with each other. However, the content of each and the legislative acts are different, and so are the timelines.
"This initiative moves us towards a truly sustainable and circular battery life"
Objectives of the DBP
In the DBP, data must be provided about material sourcing, carbon footprint, percentages of recycled materials used, battery durability, repurposing and recycling guidelines. The goal is to improve the management and sharing of product-related data which are critical to ensuring their sustainable use, prolonged life, and circularity. It will cover the entire life cycle, from raw materials to end-of-life and disposal.
Moreover, they could become a “benchmark for the entire global battery market”, as MEP and chief negotiator Achille Variati has said. “We agreed on measures that greatly benefit consumers: Batteries will be well-functioning, safer and easier to remove,” he said.
Timeline and specifics
The overall goal behind the DBP is to reduce waste by extending the battery's lifespan. Enabling batteries with digital IDs that contain all relevant information informs manufacturers on where and how they can be repurposed once their capacity no longer satisfies the standards required by the vehicle. When the battery is no longer fit for EVs, stationary energy-storage systems can still benefit from their existing electrical charge for decades to come. For example, commercial buildings such as hospitals can utilize retired car batteries as backup power for emergencies.
From 2027, the EU will require batteries to be labelled with, among other things, the name of the manufacturer, type of battery, date and location of manufacture, presence of hazardous substances and other information that facilitates recycling or reuse. Reused or reconditioned batteries must be accompanied by documentation regarding their status, a change of ownership certificate and technical documentation.
Additionally, manufacturers will be required to include information with end-of-life batteries that minimize waste and contribute to reuse or recycling. They must also provide information about safely dismantling, transporting and recycling batteries.
Ultimately, the DBP will provide transparency to all within the supply chain with respect to safety, sustainability and lifecycle requirements in accordance with EU goals. As such, it will set minimum standards for sustainable batteries that aims to validate and track progress toward sustainable, responsible and resource-efficient batteries.