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Parts and materials technology development
Battery Alliance submits bill proposing integrated management system for used batteries 2023-11-14

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on November 14 that the Battery Alliance has submitted a draft proposal on an integrated management system for the used battery industry and its supporting legislative bill.

The Battery Alliance is composed of 24 members, including Hyundai Motor, three battery producers, companies in the reuse, remanufacturing and recycling industry, insurance firms and car disposal companies.

First, the proposal redefines used batteries not as “waste material” but “batteries dismantled from electric vehicles (EVs) for remanufacturing, reuse and recycling.” At present, used batteries are subject to the wastes control act as they are classified as waste matter despite the sufficient economic value they carry through reinstallation in automobiles (remanufacturing) and by being repurposed as energy storage devices (reuse) once their cells are partially repaired or replaced.

The draft proposal suggests measures for invigorating the used battery market, which is forecast to grow by a steep 50 percent until 2030. To note, the proposal places the utmost emphasis on ensuring the free transactions of private players. As various forms of transaction exist and new business operators may emerge freely, excessive government regulation may disrupt market activation. Instead, as a minimal device for guaranteeing market fairness and efficiency, it specifies the terms on eligibility of market players that secure, distribute and utilize used batteries, and all market transactions are to be recorded on the government system.

Another system suggested by the draft proposal is the “Battery Passport System (tentative)” as a form of integrated data management system for strengthening the battery supply chain. Battery operators and distributors must enter into the system, across the entire battery life cycle, all sorts of data related to battery composition, identification, transaction outcomes, performance and safety inspection results. The accumulated data is used for fostering a transparent market and for strengthening the battery supply chain and battery safety. Some of the data can be provided to battery manufacturers to be used as crucial information for enhancing battery performance and technology development.

The proposal also covers the safety management system of batteries. Safety regulations tend to be scattered per battery condition and product across separate rules or either absent altogether. The proposal lays out a three-step inspection process for establishing a system for sustainable and organized used battery safety management: 1) pre-use (post-dismantling), 2) product safety inspection (after repurposing as energy storage systems and other devices) and 3) post-inspection (post-installation).

MOTIE’s Vice Minister Youngjin Jang attended the proposal submission ceremony and stated that “this private-led draft proposal reflects the real on-site voices and market conditions,” and added that “relevant ministries and the National Assembly will actively push discussions for prompt passing of the legislative bill, so that the draft proposal can be a success case representative of a dynamic private-led, government-backed economy.”