Regulators in California have been warned that new moves to increase pressure on producers of lead-acid batteries risk “hindering” state energy goals.
The warning came as the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) included lead batteries in its 2018-2020 draft priority product work plan.
EU leaders have been warned against ignoring lead-acid technology when selecting battery “winners” and bestowing alternative chemistries with millions of euros in fresh funding for advanced battery research.
The warning from the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) came as the European Commission revealed plans to launch a EUR1bn ($1.1bn) “Future Emerging Technologies Flagship initiative”— to support long-term research in advanced battery technologies for a 10-year period from 2025.
An independent report by Germany’s independent and non-profit Oeko-Institut has urged the European Union that, when it comes to lithium batteries, to follow the example set by the lead-acid industry in recycling batteries to create a “sustainable” system for conserving raw materials and reusing EV batteries for energy storage.
But the report— ‘Ensuring a Sustainable Supply of Raw Materials for Electric Vehicles’— shows EU leaders that China is already “well ahead” in having a “transparent” structure that efficiently regulates the use of materials in the electro-mobility sector, the Institute said.
A backdoor attempt to “choke off” supplies of key raw materials for Europe’s lead-acid battery industry could face a legal battle, BBB can reveal.
The move was sparked by proposals from the Swedish Chemicals Agency to have lead metal classified as “substances of very high concern” (SVHC) under EU health and environmental rules.
The European Commission has pledged to pump EUR200 million ($232.5m) of fresh funding into developing “next generation electric batteries” in the EU over the next three years.
The announcement took industry insiders by surprise— coming three months before the Commission is due to finalise a “comprehensive roadmap” to fund an EU ‘batteries alliance’.
European Commission chiefs have not ruled out the participation of the lead-acid industry in a proposed ‘batteries alliance’ for Europe— BBB has learned.
Lead producers called on the Commission to urgently rethink its proposals last week, after EU energy chief Maroš Šefčovič used an industry summit in Brussels to float proposals to invest in large-scale battery cells production— but failed to outline support for Europe’s powerhouse lead-acid battery industry.
The EU’s energy chief has called for the creation of a Europe-wide consortium to support the battery industry— to prevent the EU “falling behind” in the race with China and other nations to power electric vehicles (EVs).
Maroš Šefčovič (pictured), the European Commission vice-president responsible for the ‘EU energy union’, said the bloc should invest in an “Airbus for batteries”— a consortium that he said could do for batteries what the European multinational does for the aircraft industry.
The European Commission (EC) has launched a public consultation into the EU’s Batteries Directive, as part of a fundamental review of laws governing batteries in Europe.
Current legislation, which came into force in 2006, is based on data and the market situation that existed around the turn of the millennium— before lithium-ion technology had fully come into widespread use.