RBC Testifies before Bipartisan Senate Panel: Urges Congress to Support Closed-Loop Circular Economy for Next Generation of Vehicle Batteries

March 18, 2021

RBC Testifies before Bipartisan Senate Panel: Urges Congress to Support Closed-Loop Circular Economy for Next Generation of Vehicle BatteriesCongressional Leaders Highlight Importance of Battery Recycling in Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee HearingWASHINGTON: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing on Tuesday heard leaders from across the battery spectrum call for U.S. action on the growing demand for advanced batteries to power the transportation technologies of the future. The hearing witnesses also outlined measures that can help ensure the sustainable economic growth of an American battery-powered future, including conservation of limited resources and advanced battery recycling. Adam Muellerweiss, President of the Responsible Battery Coalition and Chief Sustainability Officer of Clarios, stressed in his written and verbal testimony the need to “create a sustainable, domestic battery economy to decrease emissions, reduce our reliance on foreign supply chains, and increase manufacturing in the United States,” and urged Congress to embrace a lifecycle approach that creates opportunities for domestic job creation.He also shared important details about the Responsible Battery Coalition’s development of ‘Green Principles,’ an effort to help guide environmentally responsible EV battery manufacturing, use and end-of-life management through its research partnership with University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability.

“We clearly don't want to get too far behind when it comes to being able to develop and process our own critical minerals and those important elements here in this country.” said Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). “This is a space and an area we need to be spending some time and attention on.” Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), opened the hearing by noting that American ingenuity has been leading the way to transform how our society moves people and goods, and said the Committee “has a critical role to play in ensuring that we have the technologies, materials and domestic manufacturing needed to decarbonize our transportation sector,” adding that “We've got to advance the technologies needed for the vehicles of the future and their supply chains.”Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said the “transportation sector is critical to our economy and it moves people and products reliably and affordably,” in his opening remarks. He also called for innovation of new technologies to make this sector cleaner and more efficient, saying “We should encourage a variety of technologies that reduce costs for consumers, lower emissions, and take advantage of the vast energy and mineral resources we have in this country.”Also calling for innovative battery technologies was Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). During the hearing, she said we have a serious need to “keep manufacturing more efficient cars, drive down costs for consumers and deal with pollution,” and also noted that “focusing on diversifying the supply of these critical materials” should be a priority. Other Responsible Battery Coalition programs, like Backhaul Alaska, a partnership to promote battery retrieval and recycling in remote Alaska, were also discussed, highlighting the Committees focus on ensuring responsible battery practices and advancing technologies for vehicle batteries of the future. Muellerweiss finished his testimony by stating that “every stage of the battery life cycle presents opportunities for domestic job creation, material efficiency, and system-wide carbon reductions. He also noted that while much attention has rightly focused on ensuring supplies of critical minerals in the United States, “to complement these efforts we need to adopt a whole lifecycle approach to battery design that includes end-of-life recovery and recycling.”For more information about the Responsible Battery Coalition and its programs developed to advance the responsible production, transport, sale, use, reuse, recycling and resource recovery of batteries and other energy storage devices, visit www.responsiblebatterycoalition.com.