10 November 2021

CEN and CENELEC kickstart 4-year-long journey towards standards for sustainable batteries

By Rita Tedesco
By Jonathan Vavre

On 9 November, CEN and CENELEC accepted the European Commission's Standardisation Request on sustainable batteries. It will set the technical specifications that underpin the legal requirements for battery performance, safety, and sustainability norms. A positive step all in all, but the work will not be finalised for years to come.

Batteries are essential for developing clean electromobility and renewable electricity storage, but they can only contribute to the decarbonisation of our economy and transport system if they are truly environmentally sustainable. 

Following the acceptance of the European Commission’s Standardisation Request on 9 November, European standardisation bodies CEN and CENELEC will now develop new standards for batteries to be more sustainable. The new standards will support the EU’s Strategic Action Plan on Batteries and the upcoming Battery Regulation.

ECOS welcomes the approval of this Standardisation Request as it means an unprecedented first step in support of environmentally sustainable batteries. We will actively participate in the discussions to come, aiming at achieving forward-looking results.

The new standards will allow the implementation of long-overdue requirements for batteries regarding performance, safety, sustainability, repairability and recyclability. The text of the Standardisation Request mandates the development of better definitions to be used in tests for second-life batteries, and rules to determine the end-of-life and state-of-health of batteries. New norms will also allow batteries to be repaired and reused properly, which is not easy today because several parts (including packs) are usually welded and cannot be dismantled.

A long journey ahead

On a less positive note, CEN and CENELEC have established a lengthy timeline for developing the battery standards. The roadmap spans four years, even though experience has shown that a standard can be completed within two years.

Even so, the wait for definitions could ultimately be shorter. Following article 16 of the upcoming Battery Regulation, the European Commission could develop implementing acts on technical specifications if standards are not yet existent or ready  by the time the legal requirements enter into force. This way, the regulation could provide a ‘back-up solution’ in case rules on performance, durability and sustainability need to be implemented before the actual standards are ready.

European standardisers are taking a positive step towards standards that could make batteries long-lasting, repairable and reusable. The approval of this Standardisation Request will help the EU take a leading position in standardisation globally, particularly relevant to emerging and green technologies such as next-generation sustainable batteries.

For more details on our vision on how standards can make batteries environmentally sustainable, read our report ‘The Positive Side of Batteries’


ECOS is co-funded by the European Commission and EFTA

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