George Kerchner, executive director of PRBA–The Rechargeable Battery Association, recently joined leaders from three international battery organizations in Kyoto, Japan, to discuss the current global regulatory challenges facing the industry and to lay the groundwork for future cooperation.
Kerchner and representatives and members from the Korean Battery Industry Association (KBIA), the Battery Association of Japan and RECHARGE – The International Association for Advanced Rechargeable Batteries participated in the May 21-22 World Rechargeable Battery Regulatory Forum (WRBRF). The WRBRF previously was held in Annapolis, Md., Rome, Tokyo and Washington, D.C.
KBIA, Korea’s newly formed battery association, participated in the forum for the first time and offered a unique perspective on its activities and international regulatory concerns. Some of the issues discussed during the forum included the following:
- New dangerous goods transport regulations for damaged/defective lithium batteries and waste lithium batteries
- Global battery collection and recycling programs and initiatives
- Industry standards on rechargeable batteries
- Lithium ion battery fire code developments
- Safety issues and coordinated industry responses
- Flammability testing of lithium ion batteries by government agencies
- Proposed changes to European battery directive and a ban on cadmium in power tools
- Re-use and second use of rechargeable batteries and producer responsibilities
- The Information Technology Agreement and elimination of import tariffs on rechargeable batteries
“The WRBRF provided an invaluable opportunity for the leaders of the international battery community to discuss the major regulatory issues as well as the global challenges and opportunities facing the battery industry and our members,” Kerchner said.
The WRBRF in Japan followed other recent PRBA international initiatives. In April, Kerchner presented PRBA’s proposal for amending the international dangerous goods regulations applicable to lithium batteries at meetings in Montreal and London. In Montreal, the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel Working Group adopted a PRBA proposal related to the weight restrictions on lithium batteries transported by air and considered a PRBA paper on damaged and defective lithium batteries and waste lithium batteries.
During a late April meeting in London, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), updated the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code by incorporating the most recent regulatory changes on damaged and defective lithium batteries and waste lithium batteries. These changes that were originally adopted by the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and based on proposals jointly filed by PRBA and RECHARGE.