Title: Circular Economy Perspectives for the Management of Batteries used in Electric Vehicles
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2019
JRC N°: JRC117790
ISBN: 978-92-76-10937-2 (online),978-92-76-10938-9 (print)
Other Identifiers: OP KJ-03-19-666-EN-N (online),KJ-03-19-666-EN-C (print)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC117790
DOI: 10.2760/537140
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: Ricardo Energy & Environment was commissioned to provide technical support to the European Commission on “Circular Economy Perspectives for the Management of Batteries used in Electric Vehicles” (hereafter, the ‘project’). The project was commissioned by the European Commission’s DG Joint Research Centre (hereafter ‘the JRC’). This final report provides a summary of the final findings of the project, which were also presented in draft form and discussed with stakeholders at the final project workshop on 4th February 2019. For electric vehicles, the production (and disposal) of the traction battery may constitute a significant share of the full lifecycle impacts. With the take-up of electric vehicles anticipated to accelerate in the coming years, minimisation of these impacts will be increasingly important. The objective of the project is to support the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in providing a strong factual base and techno-economic analysis to address the following six key research questions: 1. What are the current available and emerging techniques in the manufacturing, re-use and recycling of traction batteries for electric vehicles? How are end-of-life batteries currently processed and what are the emerging plans for the future? 2. What is the current environmental impact of traction batteries for electric vehicles across the whole life cycle? What are the current environmental hotspots and how are they addressed? 3. What will the potential environmental impacts and hotspots of traction batteries over their whole life cycle be if electric vehicles are deployed at large scale and/or in accordance with current trends, in the near, medium and long term? 4. What are the perspectives for developing a sustainable value chain for electric vehicle batteries in the EU? 5. What are the current strengths and weaknesses of the EU economy (industry, infrastructure, policy framework) for dealing with the lifecycle of traction batteries in the perspective of road transport electrification? 6. What public policies could be envisaged to ensure truly circular lifecycles for traction batteries, and to harness the opportunities for growth and jobs in the EU? In order to investigate and provide robust answers to these key research questions, the Project team followed an analytical approach to build the evidence base supporting the analysis, identifying key challenges and finally developing potential policy solutions. The initial part of the analysis focusses on reviewing state-of-the-art techniques for the manufacturing, reuse/repurposing and recycling of batteries, to better understand the environmental lifecycle impacts and hotspots, and to feed into the analysis of implications of electric vehicle (EV) deployment, which were explored by scenario modelling. By establishing the characteristics of what a sustainable value chain could look like, the analysis could identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the EU economy in reaching a circular economy model for EV batteries. The final part of the analysis then laid out concrete challenges facing the development of a sustainable value chain, and how to address these by identifying policy alternatives and prioritising these (according to better regulation criteria) to propose a shortlist of policy solutions to be considered.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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