On Thursday, 16 November, during the 2023 edition of the Raw Materials Week, the twelve EU funded projects that constitute the Cluster Hub ‘Materials for batteries’ gathered for their annual event in Brussels.
The Cluster Hub has been initiated last year during the 7th edition of the Raw Materials Week. The main objective of the meeting was to meet and discuss the latest developments in the participating projects as well as the new challenges and opportunities discovered through the projects’ lifetime. Nader Akil, Operations Manager at PNO Innovation, inaugurated this second edition outlining the motivation behind the hub’s establishment. He underlined the positive reception and sustained interest from various stakeholders keen on joining this initiative.
Co-organised by RELiEF, EXCEED, ENICON and RAWMINA, the event was also the opportunity to welcome the four new members of the Cluster (EXCEED, RAWMINA, METALLICO and CRM-geothermal). the workshop gathered nearly 100 organisations driving the production and the recycling of raw materials for battery applications from primary and secondary resources.
Building on the initial objective of creating an environment that could foster knowledge exchange on different approaches for the recycling and recovery for battery applications, the event focused on three major topics that depict the transversality characterising the projects: the raw materials through research and science, the roles and challenges of industry and market for raw materials, and the raw materials under the scope of sustainability, durability and social acceptance. During this annual meeting, an interactive session led by Anish Patil from TechConcepts and representing the RELiEF project had the objective of Mapping the European battery material recycling landscape – more details to be found below, in the section referring to the interactive session.
Research and science unlocking new opportunities in raw materials
The first session was moderated by Sonia Matencio from LEITAT, representing the RAWMINA project. This session had the objective of discussing the raw materials through research and science, under the scopes of mining, refining, processing as well as the battery data. Sonia introduced this topic under the scope of RAWMINA, explaining the integrated innovative pilot system for Critical Raw Materials recovery from mine waste in a circular economy context. To this end, Christophe Aucher, from LEITAT as well, highlighted the need on an open battery passport system to better reflect and account for any adaptations that might be required due to the changing regulatory landscape.
Sonia welcomed afterward Brecht Dewulf from KU LEUVEN and representing ENICON, who discussed the sustainable processing of Europe’s low grade sulphidic and lateritic Ni/Co ores and tailings into battery grade metals. The idea behind this was to show all the potential of Ni/Co resources for Europe.
Xochitl Dominguez from VITO concentrated her speech on gas-diffusion electrocrytallisation (GDEx), a crucial topic for the projects LiCORNE and RHINOCEROS she works with. GDEx is an electrochemical process of reactive precipitation of metals in solution with oxidising or reducing agents produced in-situ by the electrochemical reduction of a gas, in a gas-diffusion electrode. This was followed by Katrin Kieling from GFZ Potsdam, working there for the CRM-geothermal project and shortly explained the challenges of extracting critical raw materials from geothermal fluids. To conclude this first session, Sandra Pavón from Fraunhofer IKTS explained the demonstration of battery metals recovery from primary and secondary resources through a sustainable processing methodology in the METALLICO project.
Insights from stakeholder perspectives: Interactive session on key EU Policies and priorities
The annual meeting followed its course with an interactive session led by Anish Patil, which scrutinised stakeholders’ perspectives on the Green Deal Industrial Plan, Net Zero Industrial Act, Critical Raw Materials Act and the European Battery Regulation 2023. Mentimeter facilitated this interactive session, engaging the audience to explore how these policies intersect, complement each other, and identify critical measures and incentives for achieving their objectives.
Over 30 persons participated in the live-poll proposed, which results display the priority to be set on funding and state aid regarding ranking the four pillars of the Green Deal Industrial Plan in order of relevance (followed by skills development, conductive regulation, and open and fair trade). Another major topic regarding the stimulation of investment in net Zero technologies, the majority of answers placed the ‘enhanced skills’ as first priority, shortly followed by facilitating the access to the market.
Lastly, the participants were divided regarding the critical measures to implement in the EU to stimulate investment in building domestic capacities for extraction of critical raw materials (CRMs). Although the majority opted for ‘cutting red-tape and accelerated permitting’, approximately half of the answers evoked uncertainty, which emphasised one more time the need to engage with policy makers as external stakeholders in all projects.
Navigating the nexus: industry challenges, market dynamics, social acceptance and sustainability
This interactive workshop was followed by two sessions, which aimed at discussing the challenges and opportunities of raw materials within the frame of industry and market, as well as the social acceptance, sustainability, and durability.
Alan Gonzalez from PNO Innovation Begium, representing LiCORNE, moderated the industry part, whereas Sam Hoefman from RELiEF moderated the last session on social acceptance, sustainability, and durability. Distinguished panellists took the stage to engage in debates on various topics.
Edvarts Emerson, Production and Testing Engineer at Watt4Ever, presented his work on the benchmark depository of 2nd life use of lithium in batteries, acceptance criteria and guidelines, work developed within the RHINOCEROS project. Benjamin Wilson, representing the RESPECT Project, displayed Aalto University’s work advancing efficient, sustainable, innovative and safe battery recycling processes in the EU. Laura Kainiemi from LUT University, representing the RELiEF Project, Konstantinos Komnitsas from the Technical University of Crete (TUC), on behalf of EXCEED, and Vitor Correia from INTRAW for the CRM-geothermal project, collectively debated the role and impact of social acceptance among affected communities, the importance of triggering new dialogues on responsible mining activities, and the joint involvement of regional, national and European authorities, academia, industry partners, and citizens in shaping these initiatives.
A big thank you to all participants for this co-creative and very constructive and inspiring meeting.
Snapshots from the second edition of the Cluster Hub workshop “Production of raw materials for batteries from European resources”
The ENICON Horizon Europe funded research project, organizes the 1st Capacity Building Seminar, on the 2nd and 3rd of October 2023. The seminar will take place at the Technical University of Crete’s Campus, Greece, in a hybrid format.
The target group of the seminar involves mainly graduate and post graduate students and early stage researchers, however all students and researchers in topics related to ENICON’s objectives are welcome.
The seminar will take place at the Technical University of Crete’s Campus, Greece, in a hybrid format. Four lectures will be given by Prof. Koen Binnemans (KU Leuven), Prof. M. Konsolakis (TUC), Dr. Arne Peys (VITO) and Dr. George Bartzas (ΤUC), who are experts in their fields.
A Zoom link will be provided to the registered participants after the closing of the registration period.
The detailed program is the following:
|Prof. Koen Binnemans (KU Leuven)||The 12 Principles of Circular Hydrometallurgy||2/10/2023
10.00 AM – 12.00 PM
(local time, UTC +2)
|Dr. Arne Peys (VITO)||Matrix valorization of mining and process residues: what to do with the rest of the material after extracting 1% of valuable metals||2/10/2023
14.00 PM – 16.00 PM
(local time, UTC +2)
|Prof. M. Konsolakis (TUC)||Rational design of Ni- and Co-based catalysts for energy transition and environmental sustainability||3/10/2023
10.00 AM – 12.00 PM
(local time, UTC +2)
|Dr. George Bartzas (ΤUC)||Environmental challenges of nickel metal industry through life cycle assessment||3/10/2023
14.00 PM – 16.00 PM
(local time, UTC +2)
The RESPECT project is already in its first year of development, and to celebrate this important corner stone, they organise a launch event. It is time to introduce the project and discover how the RESPECT project is going to drive a positive change and accelerate the transition towards a cleaner, more sustainable world.
The event will take place online on the 5th of October from 09:00 to 12:25 CEST.
In the framework of the launch event, Batteries European Partnership Association (BEPA) is going to provide a workshop: „Sharing the best practices and common expertise to improve EU-funded R&I projects efficiency and dissemination results“. Including 2 fruitful Panel Discussions:
- „Lessons learned from other clusters“ (Collabat, Solid4B (waiting for confirmation) and Battery heroes)
- “Clustering activities for the projects on Sustainable, safe and efficient recycling processes?” (RESPECT, FREE4LIB, RHINOCEROS (waiting for confirmation))
The 3 Panel discussion “How do R&D projects support the creation of the EU battery value chain and the implementation of the new legislative requirements?” will cover several aspects related to the implementation of Battery Regulation.
RESPECT project proposes a logistical chain of disruptive, flexible, sustainable and versatile recycling processes that consider the safety aspects of battery opening and deactivation, and utilizes hydrometallurgy or direct recycling, depending on the targeted LIBs to be treated, thereby supporting the next generation of battery materials development.
The vision of the RESPECT project is to contribute to paving the way for increasing global competitiveness, strategic autonomy and circularity of the European battery ecosystem by developing innovative green recycling materials recovery processes, and thus supporting the growing Li-ion battery manufacturing in Europe.
On Monday, 10 July 2023, the Council of the European Union adopted a new regulation that strengthens sustainability rules for batteries and waste batteries. This regulation covers the entire life cycle of batteries, ensuring their safety, sustainability and competitiveness from production to reuse and recycling.
Read the official press release
Recognising the vital role batteries play in the decarbonisation process and the transition towards zero-emission mobility, Teresa Ribera, Spanish Minister for the Ecological Transition reinforced the Presidency’s support for the regulation, which applies to all types of batteries: waste portable batteries, electric vehicle batteries, industrial batteries, starting, lightning and ignition (SLI) batteries primarily used in vehicles and machinery, as well as batteries for light means of transport like electric bikes, e-mopeds, and e-scooters.
“At the same time end-of-life batteries contain many valuable resources and we must be able to reuse those critical raw materials instead of relying on third countries for supplies. The new rules will promote the competitiveness of European industry and ensure new batteries are sustainable and contribute to the green transition.”
| Teresa Ribera, Spanish Minister for the Ecological Transition
To foster a circular economy, the regulation establishes requirements for the end-of-life phase, including collection targets and obligations, material recovery targets, and extended producer responsibility. Dedicated collection objectives for waste batteries used in light means of transport will be implemented, aiming at 51% by the end of 2028, respectively 61% by the end of 2031. Furthermore, the regulation sets mandatory minimum levels of recycled content for industrial batteries, SLI batteries and electric vehicle batteries. The following initial values have been established:
- 16% for cobalt
- 85% for lead
- 6% for lithium
- 6% for nickel
Additionally, batteries will also be required to hold documentation proving their recycled content.
To improve the functioning of the internal market for batteries and ensure fair competition, the regulation introduces safety, sustainability, and labelling requirements. It includes provisions for battery labelling and information disclosure, including details on battery components and recycled content. Additionally, an electronic “battery passport” and a QR code will be implemented to enhance traceability and transparency. These labelling requirements will take effect by 2026, while the QR code implementation is expected by 2027, providing member states and manufacturers with ample time to prepare.
This new regulation aims to mitigate environmental and social impacts throughout the battery’s life cycle. By establishing strict due diligence rules for operators, the EU is ensuring operators are bound to verify the source of raw materials used for batteries placed on the market. However, the regulation provides for an exemption for SMEs from the due diligence rules.
The adoption procedure for the regulation concluded with the Council’s vote, and it will now proceed to be signed by both the Council and the European Parliament. Following this, the regulation will be published in the European Union’s Official Journal and will enter into force 20 days thereafter.
Monitoring Crucial Secondary Legislation Linked to the Batteries Regulation
The new regulation aiming at strengthening sustainability rules for batteries and waste batteries will be supported by various secondary legislation pieces that play a crucial role in ensuring the comprehensive and effective implementation of the proposal’s objectives, particularly in important areas such as raw material sourcing, battery design, manufacturing processes, the second-life of a battery, and battery recycling and reuse.
One of the most urgent legislations is the carbon footprint (Art. 7) methodology for electric vehicles (EVs), which is under development with the JRC report and is expected by early 2024. Another relevant piece of secondary legislation is referring to recycling efficiencies (Art. 71), where the JRC is closely working with stakeholders in different expert groups.
The Cluster Hub “Production of raw materials for batteries from European resources” within the current legislative framework
As the implementation of the new battery regulation progresses, the Cluster Hub will continue to serve as a catalyst for advancements in battery recycling. By leveraging the collective efforts and expertise of participating projects, the platform acknowledges its pivotal role in driving the transition towards a more sustainable and circular future for the battery industry in Europe.