FEBELAUTO is a Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) set up under the Extended Producer responsibility (EPR) scheme stipulated in the European ELV Directive that takes responsibility for the management of ELVs in Belgium.
In the EU, some of its member states like the Netherlands, a neighboring country of Belgium, built the collection and recycling network by contracting with dismantlers or shredders. FEBELAUTO, however, does not build such a network as a PRO. It leaves collection and recycling activities to the market needs. The main activity of this organisation is the data management of ELVs. It is financed by the importers of automobiles in the absence of OEMs in the country.
As the EU is pushing the electrification of the transport sector under the Green Deal, a significant increase of EVs is predicted in 10 to 15 years. Thereafter, the number of end-of-life EVs will go up accordingly. Following this trend, the ELV industry in Europe is currently preparing for this upcoming event.
In treating end-of-life EVs, the major difference from ICE vehicles is the presence of traction batteries and their safety issue. Economic operators who engage in the ELV industry need different skills, technologies and facilities for the treatment of EVs. In Belgium, such preparations are just starting.
Under the European legislation as well as that of Belgium, dismantling ELVs has to be carried out by authorized treatment facilities (ATFs). In Belgium, these ATFs need an additional certificate in order to treat EVs and those who fill the conditions can become an “ATF+”, being entitled to handle EVs at their facilities. It was FEBELAUTO who has developed the requirements for this certificate.
MIRU interviewed Ms. Catherine Lenaerts, the director of FEBELAUTO and asked about the current situation of the end-of-life EV treatment in Belgium.
“FEBELAUTO NORM©︎“for end-of-life EV treatment
FEBELAUTO published “FEBELAUTO NORM©︎” that stipulated the conditions to become an ATF+, eligible to handle traction batteries of EVs and hybrid vehicles in April 2020 and this norm was accredited by the government.
The norm is applied to the takeback points (TBP) of ELVs such as car dealers, traction battery dealers or ATFs or independent garages for maintenance and repair, who handle ELVs for collection.
What are the additional conditions to be able to treat EVs? The followings are the summarized conditions stated in the FEBELAUTO NORM©︎ (non-exhaustive)
To handle EVs as TBPs or ATFs+;
- You need to have all necessary legal authorizations
- You need to have insurance coverage for damage and for civil liability for operations with EV batteries in your facilities
- You need to have a management plan for risk analysis, and identify a separate storage area for EVs
- You need to have instructions by producers for the battery removal.
- You need to have an electronic reporting system (to report necessary data on batteries to FEBELAUTO)
- You need to have safety equipment installed in the facilities
- You need to fill all the legal requirements for packing and transport of batteries
- You need to provide your workers with training for handling high-voltage batteries and the person who handles batteries must have an authorization concerning the safety requirements and technical skills needed to work on EVs
Once received an ATF+ status, then you have to allow an audit every two years by FEBELAUTO or by a third party assigned by FEBELAUTO for the proper application of the FEBELAUTO NORM©️ to keep the position of TBP or ATF+. All of the conditions and requirements can be assessed during the audit.
While there are 120 ATFs registered in Belgium, as of now (July 2021) 5 of them have received ATF+ status. In addition, 5 ATFs are in the process of approval. These are still very few. Asked if the figure is too little, “We have just stated. We still have enough time until the number of end-of life EVs significantly increases. We will be surely ready by then”, Ms. Lenaerts affirmed.
Asked what the major challenge for end-of-life EV treatment, “The most important thing is to ensure safety at workplace. This will be solved by training personnel and installing all necessary equipment. For the other things, I don’t think there is any specific challenge. Until now, ELV recyclers have been dealing with the changes of car models. With their past experiences, they will be able to respond to needs for EV treatment.
(The Article from MIRU, translated by Y.SCHANZ)