BERLIN—Starting in February 2027, all new EV traction batteries, two-wheeled vehicle batteries and industrial batteries with a capacity over 2-kilowatt-hours that are marketed in European Union countries will require a digital “passport.” The goal of the initiative is to ensure transparency and sustainability in the battery value chain, reduce environmental impacts and encourage the secondary use of batteries.

The Battery Pass Consortium is developing frameworks and recommendations in terms of content and technology for implementing the passport. The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology (IPK) is responsible for the design and implementation of the technical standards.

It will support seamless documentation of a battery’s life, from raw material extraction and production to use, reuse and recycling.

The passport will contain a record of a battery’s origin and log its relevant uses. It will comprehensively describe the sustainability and responsibility of the supply chain, including carbon footprint data, the working conditions for raw material extraction, battery materials and components, hazardous substances contained, resource efficiency, performance and service life, battery status, and data related to recyclability and repair. Disassembly instructions contained in the passport will help facilitate the secondary use of as many of the battery’s components as possible.

“The battery passport provides a digital record of all of the socially, ecologically and economically relevant information on a battery’s life cycle,” says Thomas Knothe, Ph.D., an engineer at Fraunhofer IPK working on the project. “By providing verified and verifiable information, it can create transparency, support second-life uses or optimize processing by recycling providers.

“This supports the development of sustainable business models along the battery value chain, while complying with relevant sustainability and ethical criteria,” explains Knothe. “The aim is to reduce child labor and pollution in countries where the raw materials are produced, and keep track of the export of old batteries.”

To enable battery manufacturers and importers to present the battery passport in 2027, all of the necessary groundwork, technical specifications and test systems must be completed by the end of 2025.

“One of the challenges of putting the specifications into practice is interoperability,” Knothe points out. “For example, the software system needs to support as many different data carriers as possible, which supply information to the product in a way that is similar to a bar code or QR code. The same applies to unique identifiers, which are like ID numbers assigned uniquely to a product.”