Mark Mistry and Marco Vallini argue that for the EU Critical Raw Materials Act to fulfil its promise to address the energy transition, industry needs planning security for both ‘critical’ and ‘strategic’ raw materials.
The European Commission published its proposed EU battery regulation in December 2020. After almost two years of discussion, the EU institutions are now in the final stages of negotiating the details. It could be adopted in December 2022, with entry into force to follow in 2023.
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.
A new generation of designers, materials specifiers, architects and engineers is being introduced to the wealth of technical information curated by the Nickel Institute. An archive of technical guides and know-how for working with nickel-containing materials, including stainless steel, that has been built over thirty years is now being updated and made freely available.
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.