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Studies address automotive battery trends and closed-loop recycling

Europe – There is a particular need for long-term co-existence between all battery technologies for meeting future mobility demands, according to a trend study from the European Association for Automotive and Industrial Batteries (EUROBAT). A new report has also revealed that the closed-loop collection and recycling of automotive lead-based batteries is now a reality.

The first of these studies highlighted that all battery technologies have a critical role to play and that lead-based batteries, for instance, are essential in conventional combustion engine vehicles and in micro- and mild-hybrid applications, EUROBAT′s president Johann-Friedrich Dempwolff told a briefing in Brussels.

They also function as auxiliary batteries in hybrid and electric vehicles. Dempwolff argued that the threat of substitution of essential metals in lead, lithium, nickel and sodium technologies under the EU′s REACh regulation would negatively impact Europe′s investment climate as well as hinder the region′s sustainability and energy security agenda.

Moreover, such a lack of policy cohesion in Europe would result in a competitive disadvantage for the continent′s manufacturers in a globally competitive market. EUROBAT executive director Alfons Westgeest explained how batteries for energy storage applications are readily available and facilitating the integration of renewable energy in the electricity grid.

In order to ensure energy security and supply in Europe, EUROBAT is demanding an end to the definition of storage as ′regulated generating asset′, an unlocking of access to the grid and the incentivisation of investment in storage. Westgeest underlined the importance of batteries in upcoming micro-grids and rural electrification.

Karsten Kurz, chairman of EUROBAT′s environment committee, summarised the findings of a new report into the closed loop for automotive lead-based batteries. Prepared by international consulting group IHS, it confirms that the collection and recycling rate for automotive lead-based batteries stands at 99% and that these batteries are among the most recycled products.

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