The Ministry of Environment (ME) is planning to establish a battery center for reuse and recycling of used and dead electric vehicle batteries just like the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). The center will collect such batteries that will be recycled and provide support for back-end industries by categorizing batteries.
While relevant industries agree on the need for battery center, they are concerned about an overlapping of the business models by the two ministries and that the ministries will only confuse the market when there is yet to be any standard on rating which is the most important when it comes to reuse and recycling of batteries.
According to the industry, the ME is going to build battery centers starting with Giheung by the end of this year and Daegu, Hongseong, and Jeongeup by the end of June next year. These centers will collect used and dead electric vehicle batteries from their respective areas and catergorizing them based on their charging and discharging status. Based on status, a battery will be determined whether it will be reused or recycled.
Prior to the ME, the MOTIE is also pushing to build battery centers. The MOTIE already invested $15.9 million (18.9 billion KRW) that includes a government expense of $6.74 million (8 billion KRW) to build a battery center in Jeju Island in June and it decided to build another center in Naju by 2024 by investing $19.0 million (22.6 billion KRW) that includes a government expense of $7.83 million (9.3 billion KRW).
Although the two ministries are building centers in different cities, how their centers will operate when it comes to collecting and categorizing is not much different.
As a result, relevant industries are deeply concerned about business values of the ministries’ battery centers as the ministries are planning to apply separate standards due to the absence of standard on categorization which is the most important for reuse and recycling of batteries and are likely to add more confusion to the market from the get go. Also, roles of the private sector for back-end industries related to battery are also unclear as ownership of electric vehicle batteries and uses of batteries based on classification are limited.
The industries are urging the government to take legal measures on ownership of batteries and establish a unified standard on categorization of batteries before building additional battery centers.
“Back-end industries will be established in a normal manner once there is a unified standard and the battery ownership issue is resolved.” said a representative for the industry. “Because the projects of the two ministries are overlapping one another, it will be the most effective if the ME focuses on establishing a unified standard and the MOTIE focuses on looking for uses for reused and recycled batteries.”
According to the Clean Air Conservation Act, every electric vehicle battery purchased through a national subsidy needs to be returned to the government when the corresponding electric vehicle is scrapped because the country has the ownership of such batteries.
As a result, the ME will be able to have a more accurate classification system if it is able to secure data on charging and discharging status of batteries. Afterwards, the MOTIE can prepare standards that are necessary to look for uses in different fields such as ESS, electric vehicle charging station, uninterruptible power supply system, ESS tied to solar photovoltaic and wind power generation, electric motorcycle, and electric wheelchair.
A spokesperson for the MOTIE said that, “We will be able to avoid any overlapping as our ministry is working on classification for collecting and disposal while the MOTIE is working on additional classification for commercialization of reused batteries.” The spokesperson also said that the ministry’s centers will act as collection centers for other secondary batteries and solar panels as well.
Meanwhile, the governments from China and Japan have private companies completely responsible for collecting and classifying electric vehicle batteries and finding uses for batteries while they are improving necessary regulations and are providing subsidies according to uses.
Staff Reporter Park, Taejoon | firstname.lastname@example.org