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PRBA Responds To US DOE Request For Information On Risks In The High-Capacity Batteries Supply Chain

Recommends the U.S. Focus On Three Areas Of Supply Chain Supply And Growth

PRBA – The Rechargeable Battery Association has filed comments responding to the U.S. Department of Energy’s request for information on the risks facing the supply chain for high-capacity batteries, including electric vehicle batteries.

In its 12-page response, PRBA identified three areas that will help DOE establish a robust and competitive ecosystem for battery manufacturing and supply in the United States.

Those areas of supply chain establishment and growth are:

  • Growing America’s supply of the raw materials for lithium-ion and lithium metal battery manufacturing, including the support of domestic recycling operations
  • Developing new lithium-ion and lithium metal cell production in both the U.S. and allied countries
  • Expanding domestic battery pack assembly operations and demand for U.S.-made packs

PRBA’s comments describe in detail why high-capacity lithium ion and lithium metal batteries have become so critical to global economic security and the global system for lithium battery production and supply. PRBA also explains how the U.S. can build its own secure and resilient supply chain for these critical products.

“Currently, the United States lags in all areas of the lithium battery supply chain, including access to critical raw materials, cell production, battery assembly, and recycling. This situation should not be allowed to become permanent, and with swift, decisive action, it need not become so,” PRBA emphasized.

For more information or a copy of PRBA’s comments, contact PRBA Executive Director George Kerchner at 202.719.4109 or [email protected].

PRBA Seeks Relief from U.S. Transport Regulations for Companies Transporting Lithium Batteries as Part of Normal Business Operation

PRBA – The Rechargeable Battery Association has filed a petition for rulemaking with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) seeking regulatory relief for companies that transport lithium batteries in direct support of their principal businesses pursuant to the “Materials of Trade” (MoT) exceptions found in the U.S. hazardous materials regulations.

PRBA’s petition is one of several actions recently undertaken to support the Biden Administration’s February 14 Executive Order directing government agencies to develop a sustainable supply chain for high-capacity batteries in the United States.  This effort includes a complete ecosystem involving cell and battery manufacturing, downstream producers of goods incorporating batteries, and battery recycling (and re-generation of materials derived therefrom). This can be accomplished in many ways, including updating provisions in the hazardous materials regulations that inhibit the development and safe transport of lithium batteries in the U.S.

Securing regulatory relief without compromising safety is a key feature of PRBA’s petition. The petition seeks the addition of a new provision in the MoT exceptions for a specific net weight limit applicable to lithium ion and lithium metal batteries, improved packaging requirements, and new hazard communication requirements for batteries or packages exceeding 30 kg.  The amendments to the MoT exceptions advocated by PRBA would provide substantial benefits for many industries that transport these relatively small quantities (i.e., < 500 kg) of lithium batteries as part of their regular business operations.

Contact PRBA at [email protected] for a copy of the petition for rulemaking.

PRBA Participates in International Rechargeable Battery Regulatory Forum

PRBA-The Rechargeable Battery Association recently participated in the 9th World Rechargeable Battery Regulatory Forum (WRBRF), joining the leaders from RECHARGE (the Advanced Rechargeable and Lithium Batteries Industry Association in Europe), the Battery Association of Japan (BAJ) and the Korea Battery Industry Association (KBIA).

The WRBRF 2021conference, held virtually March 30-31, focused on the many issues confronting the rechargeable battery and recycling industries, including battery collection and recycling legislative proposals, battery safety, dangerous goods transportation regulations, export restrictions, International Fire Code proposals on lithium battery storage requirements, and battery testing standards.

“The battery industry is a global industry. The WRBRF as always provided an unparalleled opportunity for leaders of the international battery community to discuss ongoing regulatory developments in Asia, Europe and the United States,” PRBA Executive Director George Kerchner said.

Kerchner discussed recent regulatory developments in the United States, specifically federal and state battery collection and recycling legislation, implications of OSHA’s proposed rulemaking on lithium ion batteries, and fire code proposals relevant to the collection and storage of lithium batteries.

With the head of RECHARGE, Kerchner also spoke about global transport regulations and proposals to amend these regulations, including a UN working group developing new classification and testing requirements for lithium batteries.