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Modernisation of Batteries and their use

Article 2 specifies that the Directive applies to all types of batteries and accumulators, regardless of their shape, volume, weight, material composition or use (excluding equipment for the safety of MS and equipment designed to be sent into space). Nonetheless, the common battery types and battery uses at the time the Directive was drafted and at present are in transition.

If in the past NiCd batteries were the common mode for powering portable consumer equipment and power tools, today Li-Ion batteries are dominating this market segment.

In automobiles, though the lead acid battery is still used in almost all vehicles as a starter battery, Li-Ion batteries are gaining also in importance. These batteries have started to be applied as substitutes for NiMH propulsion batteries in electric and hybrid vehicles. In parallel the Li-Ion battery is under research and development to allow its use as a future replacement for lead acid starter batteries.[1]

As regards the industrial applications, developments are observed for example in relation to the growing use of batteries for the storage of energy. Though lead acid batteries dominate this market, Li-Ion batteries present an alternative increasing in relevance.

According to Article 1, the Directive “seeks to improve the environmental performance of batteries and accumulators and of the activities of all economic operators involved in the life cycle of batteries and accumulators, e.g. producers, distributors and end-users and, in particular, those operators directly involved in the treatment and recycling of waste batteries and accumulators.”

Though increasing the efficiency of use batteries for various applications may motivate these developments of the market, it is also important to see where consequential changes may need to be addressed in order to prevent negative environmental impacts. For example, new technologies may need to be labelled differently or may require the development of new recycling technologies. It is thus important to identify where such developments exist and to what degree the Directive may need to be adapted to ensure that possible impacts are adequately addressed and to prevent negative environmental impacts.


[1] See „A Review of Battery Technologies for automotive Applications”, prepared by as prepared the associations

EUROBAT, ILA, ACEA, JAMA and KAMA in 2014 and available under: http://ewfa.org/sites/default/files/rev_of_battery_executive_web_1.pdf