Our services are centred around intellectual property that can be registered. We protect innovation, design, and branding across all sectors of industry, and at all stages in the supply chain.

For each IP right we offer services covering strategic advice, pre-registration searches, registrations and renewals, oppositions and dispute resolution. We handle work throughout the world, working with local colleagues in over 100 countries.


Our attorneys specialise in one or more sectors of industry, which enables them to provide quality advice with a commercial focus.

Our patent specialists have detailed understanding of the background technology, which ensures that your patent applications are prepared with the correct scope, reducing the likelihood of challenges from third parties and objections from the patent office.

They also advise whether other forms of protection would be more appropriate. Our brand specialists work with brand managers for leading brands and their advice is commercially focussed making sure that you get the best value from your budget.

EU seeks to improve sustainability of batteries


Earlier this month, the European Union announced that it had reached provisional agreement on legislation which will make batteries “more sustainable, circular and safe.

The agreed legislation will cover not only recycling of batteries, but will also focus on other sustainability aspects, such as a batteries’ carbon footprint, recycled content, and performance and durability.


Regarding recycling, the new law will require higher proportions of batteries to be collected at end-of-use. For portable batteries, such as those in laptops, phones, and tablets, the targets will be 63% in 2027 and 73% in 2030, whereas for batteries from light means of transport, such as e-scooters and electric bikes, the target will be 51% in 2028 and 61% in 2031.

All the collected batteries must be recycled, and there are strict requirements regarding the level of recovery that must be achieved. For example, for lithium, the recovery targets will be 50% by 2027 and 80% by 2031. Perhaps even more significantly, for nickel and cobalt, two of the most expensive and environmentally challenging materials used in Li-ion batteries, the recovery targets will be 90% from 2027, and 95% by 2031.

This puts the recovery targets for nickel and cobalt in line with the 95% re-use, recycle, and recovery target imposed on the automotive sector in the EU’s End of Life Vehicle Directive. To achieve these targets, more work will be required to improve recycling processes, such as pyrometallurgy (e.g., to recover cobalt and nickel) and hydrometallurgy (e.g., to extract lithium), and to make these processes themselves more sustainable.

In addition, battery cells and packs may be made easier to recycle by building “recyclability” into the manufacturing, as I discussed in this article in Manufacturing Today earlier this month. The increasing vertical integration of automotive OEMs may help to drive these changes.


Regarding sustainability more broadly, the new law will introduce the requirement “to minimise the carbon footprint over the life cycle of batteries”. According to the legislation, “efforts to decrease the carbon footprint in the manufacturing process will indirectly lead to the promotion of renewable energy generation”.

While using more renewable energy in manufacturing is one way of reducing the carbon footprint of a battery, manufacturing can be made more sustainable in other ways too.

On the one hand, existing manufacturing processes may be made less carbon intensive, for example by improving efficiency, increasing scale, etc. On the other hand, novel manufacturing processes may lead to a more significant reduction in manufacturing carbon footprint. Dry coating, for example, has the potential to not only remove the need for environmentally harmful solvents, but also significantly reduce carbon footprint. This is because the lengthy and expensive step of drying “wet” electrodes is avoided. Development in this area continues, at increasing pace, and most leading battery manufacturers (and automakers) are working on dry coating processes.

Finally, the lifecycle carbon footprint of a battery depends not only on greenhouse gas emissions during manufacture. Improvements in performance, and more sustainable raw materials, will affect the calculation.

Solid state batteries, for example, hold the promise of higher energy densities and a potentially longer cycle life. Sodium-ion batteries may have lower energy densities than their Li-ion cousins, but sodium is significantly more abundant than lithium. Lithium iron phosphate batteries, in which cobalt and nickel rich cathode active materials are replaced with more abundant iron-based active materials may also be more sustainable, despite their lower energy density. Indeed, BloombergNEF expects LFP batteries to make up around 40% of global EV sales this year, up significantly compared to previous years, mostly due to supply chain constraints.

What does all this mean?

It can be expected that other countries, if they do not yet have increased recycling and sustainability targets for batteries, will follow suit, and most major economies will require a significant proportion of batteries to be recycled in the near future. Given expected sales of EVs over the next decade, this means there will be significant scope, and commercial value, in research and development in the areas of battery manufacturing, battery chemistry, and battery recycling.

Protecting the core inventions required for the sustainable manufacture of the batteries of the future, whether related to manufacturing processes or manufacturing machines, will be critical in protecting a company’s innovative edge – and future value.

If you would like any advice relating to inventions and intellectual property in the fields of lithium-ion batteries or sodium-ion batteries, or related fields, please get in touch with our team of experts.

This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.

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