Press release
17 January 2022

Carbone 4 launches an open initiative to improve carbon footprint calculation of batteries, supported by key players of the EU battery supply chain

Reaching global carbon neutrality in 2050 will need drastic efforts of decarbonation in all human activities. 
Mobility represents ~25% of direct worldwide GHG emissions from fuel combustion, and road transport (passenger + freight) accounts for nearly three-quarters of transport CO2 emissions. This sector has to reinvent itself to respond to the climate challenge. All decarbonization levers will have to be activated, through new uses and actions on demand but also through technological developments and especially battery electric vehicles (BEV). 

A BEV emits less than a conventional internal combustion engine car on its life cycle (source: Carbone 4 study). However, the production emissions of a battery are still significant. Decreasing the carbon footprint of batteries is therefore an important lever to reinforce the decarbonation impact of the BEV everywhere. The currently discussed UE Battery Directive aims to reinforce in the coming years the environmental traceability and carbon performance of the batteries sold in UE. 

The supply chain of battery manufacturing is also complex and raises many industrial, social, and environmental issues: from the upstream extraction and transformation of metals to cell & pack production and finally its end of life. That supply chain is currently under Asian domination (Korea, China, Japan) and China’s influence is growing quickly. In addition to that context, automotive industry suffers from COVID crisis and supply chain’s disruptions.

The development of a sovereign, competitive and low carbon battery industry is now seen as mandatory by most of economic and political players in Europe.  

Some companies are already developing solutions to decrease batteries' carbon footprint all over its life cycle: lower carbon production of materials, optimized cell and pack production, eco-designed batteries to improve their recyclability and reusability, new recycling processes to valorize most of the materials contained by old batteries. It is therefore key to capture with accuracy those improvements in battery carbon footprint calculation, by using specific values of those innovative processes and materials rather than average values.

Therefore, following preliminary studies with Verkor (which is developing battery gigafactories), Carbone 4 is launching an open initiative to improve carbon footprint calculation of batteries, to precisely quantify the emissions related to any battery used in road transportation. It anticipates the upcoming UE regulation, which will ask for such information in the coming years. The carbon footprint calculator will be publicly accessible, to help structure the lowest emissive EU battery industry. 

That initiative is supported by key players of the EU battery supply chain: EDF, Eramet, Infinity Lithium, InnoEnergy, Plastic Omnium, Tokai COBEX, Verkor and 3 other industrial which will be revealed later. 

It is still open to additional partners to intensify the development of that initiative for the battery industry. 

First results will be made public in H2 2022. 

Impact assessment
Carbon footprints and reporting