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Japan and Europe partner to develop battery recycling system

Japan and Europe are joining forces to establish a battery recycling system aimed at facilitating information exchange on mining sites and mineral suppliers crucial for battery production. Scheduled for introduction by 2025, this initiative aims to challenge China’s dominance in supplying rare metals like lithium. By tracing these strategic materials and promoting their reuse, the partnership seeks to safeguard against their depletion and prevent their unauthorized exportation.

Japan’s Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA), operating under the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, will formalize a memorandum of understanding with European counterparts to enable information sharing and mutual certification. Both regions already maintain electronic platforms for managing data related to electric vehicle batteries.

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Japan is advancing its industrial data platform, dubbed Ouranos Ecosystem, which is poised to involve approximately 50 companies, including major automobile manufacturers like Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, and Honda Motor, as well as the Toyota-Panasonic battery joint venture, Prime Planet Energy & Solutions.

In Europe, the operational public-private data platform, Catena-X, spearheaded by automotive giants such as BMW and the Mercedes-Benz Group, is set to link with Ouranos by 2025. However, sensitive details concerning Japanese companies’ core competencies, including suppliers and procurement volumes, will remain undisclosed.

The primary objective of this initiative is to share information regarding materials used in existing batteries and establish their traceability to prevent unauthorized outflows from respective territories.

In response to the European Union’s regulations mandating the recycling of electric vehicle battery materials within the region, “battery passports” like Catena-X and Ouranos are crucial. These passports record and manage information across the entire supply chain, including material origins, production history, recycling rates, and carbon dioxide emissions. Certification through Ouranos will automatically extend to Japanese companies in compliance with EU regulations.

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