What is a “sustainable product”? Is it more sustainable to continue using my old washing machine or to buy a new, more energy efficient one? Are single use products always unsustainable? What criteria should I use to judge whether a product is sustainable or not? What measures can we take to promote sustainability in products?
Batteries, notably those used in electric vehicles, play an essential role in the plans of the European Commission to deliver the EU Green Deal. They are considered as a critical and strategic technology to achieve Europe´s ambitious climate change mitigation targets and to move towards green and sustainable mobility.
The proposed Regulation will introduce a wide range of sustainability requirements and promote the recycling of key battery raw materials like nickel. EU legislative work is entering a crucial phase.
The present-day principal driver in the Li-ion industry is the large batteries required for electric vehicles. Due to the size of these batteries and the relative growth of electric vehicles it is predicted that the total Li-ion energy capacity will exceed one tera watt-hour by 2030. This anticipation for a dramatically rapidly expanding industry has stakeholders all along the value chain very motivated to be ready.
The short answer is: yes, nickel can be a sustainable material throughout the entire value chain, from mining, manufacturing, to use and end of life – if all actors throughout the value chain step up and take their responsibility. Now let's look at the longer answer...
European nickel producers need a consistent regulatory framework. There must be coherence between different EU policy objectives with rules based on principles of sound science, risk-based approaches, full life-cycle thinking and impact assessments.
Should we be worried about there being enough nickel to supply the transition to electric vehicles and cleaner energy sources? Given its wide range of uses in important existing and emerging technologies, this is a frequently asked question.