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From mine to market: The startup revolutionizing battery supply chains
Why we invested in Infyos
Moving our economy away from fossil fuels will only be possible with adequate energy storage, and that means batteries. Still, sustainability issues throughout the battery supply chain and the complexity of the new EU Batteries Regulation are making it difficult for makers to keep up with growing demand. We need a platform that will enable this essential industry by allowing battery players to manage, measure, and improve their sustainability, all while ensuring they can remain compliant with all legal requirements.
Want to take a deep dive into battery supply chains first? Check out our public research.
The world can not afford to continue burning fossil fuels, and yet our economy is still highly dependent on them. In order to transition away from this fossil-based economy and into a more sustainable future, we need a new way to ensure a steady supply of electricity to the grid. Renewable energy generation from wind and solar is increasing, but we need to be able to store that energy and ensure access even when it’s dark outside and the winds die down. So, in order to maintain the balance between energy generated and consumed, the world is going to need a lot of batteries.
The demand for batteries is predicted to grow by over 30% a year from now until 2030, but the industry has been plagued with social and environmental challenges and opaque supply chains that threaten market stability. The most challenging aspect of ramping up battery production is sourcing the critical minerals that go into battery components. The majority of emissions from manufacturing a standard EV battery come from extracting, processing, and refining raw materials – and that is on top of the already monumental environmental costs of mining. Beyond intensive energy requirements, mining places heavy demands on water resources and often requires toxic chemicals that can lead to air, water, and soil contamination. For example, every tonne of lithium mined from hard-rock will release 15 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere and use 170,000 liters of water. And, oh yeah, we also need to ramp up lithium extraction by about five times by 2030 to keep up with growing demand.
Complicating matters even further is that current battery technology relies on fragile and opaque supply chains for its raw materials, making it difficult for makers to keep up with rising demand. The materials required for battery production are sourced mainly from politically unstable countries and obtained using methods plagued with sustainability challenges and human rights concerns like child labor and unsafe working conditions.
To address these issues, the European Union agreed on new legislation called the Batteries Regulation that will put much stricter requirements on players in the battery space starting later this year. These new rules cover “social, economic, and environmental matters” for all types of batteries, including rules around performance, production, recycling, and repurposing. New laws and requirements will be rolled out annually, with increasing levels of complexity expected. By 2027, carbon footprint declarations will be mandatory, minimum recycling levels will be implemented, and labeling requirements will come into play. Maintaining compliance with the Batteries Regulation could take companies years to achieve as they require entirely new processes and systems to fulfill obligations around emissions, recycling performance, and supply chain due diligence, among others.
The scope of the EU Batteries Regulation is massive. It applies to all categories of batteries, whether they were produced in the EU or imported, and not only to the batteries themselves. Any electronic equipment, appliance, or vehicle that contains a battery is subject to these laws. The new regulation also applies from the source, stating that all materials must be in line with the EU’s Zero Pollution Action Plan and take preventative measures to protect human health and the environment through proper waste management. Large batteries, the kind used in industry and in electric vehicles, will be required to have a digital battery passport that links to an extensive and specific list of information regarding the individual battery’s components and its use–and this is information that is not easily acquired, even by the manufacturers themselves.
But what happens if companies can’t maintain compliance with the new EU battery regulation? Well, it’s not just a slap on the wrist. Companies unwilling or unable to meet these requirements won’t be permitted to sell their products on the EU market. So now, the industry is scrambling to figure out exactly how to stay in business. In an industry where falling just one day behind production can mean a loss of around $4 million, the stakes are higher than ever.
Moving the industry forward
The fact is that without better ways to manage, measure, and improve battery supply chains, the world will not be able to sustainably and ethically meet the growing demand for energy storage. The battery industry needs a new kind of solution to stay ahead of this complex and ever-evolving landscape, and we found that solution in Infyos.
Sarah and Tony, the co-founders of Infyos, are on a mission to build a future where every battery supply chain is sustainable and resilient. From car manufacturers to providers of renewable energy, Infyos gives supply chain visibility to players in the battery space, allowing them to track suppliers easily, measure impact, implement improvements and be ahead of regulation. While countries continue to roll out net zero goals and energy security plans, more and more accountability is being placed on the battery and car makers that will power the transition. The Infyos platform ensures that companies will be able to remain compliant and competitive in the increasing complexity of the global market. This includes hard regulations like the new EU Batteries Regulation as well as incentive-driven programs like the recently introduced Inflation Reduction Act of the US, which has set ambitious mineral and battery traceability goals.
How does Infyos do it?
With Infyos, players in the battery space now have a one-stop solution to guide them into a truly sustainable future. The Infyos platform allows companies to map and measure supply chain impacts and risks, including energy use, GHG emissions, water pollution, working conditions, and child labor. Infyos’s data model gathers data directly from its customers as well as industry reports, academic research, and public sector sources to present a full picture of a company, supply chain, and product sustainability, and then provides data-led recommendations to companies on the process of implementing changes, tracking progress, and reporting results.
On the regulatory and compliance side, Infyos has recognized that companies are struggling to keep up with and understand the requirements–specifically, which are applicable to them and what steps are necessary to comply. So, they set out to help customers stay ahead of the latest industry changes and requirements, ensuring that their strategy is on track and up to date and that they can continue to sell on the market, avoid fines or sanctions, and lead the way to battery sustainability. With Infyos, customers can see ongoing monitoring and assessment of whether their suppliers are in line with legal requirements and industry best practices and collaborate with them to improve.
In the coming months, Infyos will be publishing material and hosting free webinars around the topics of battery supply chain sustainability and the upcoming regulatory changes. Follow along on social media, or visit the Infyos website to sign up for email alerts and stay tuned.
Want to learn more about battery supply chains? Check out our public research.