Researchers :

Arnaud De Groof , Sandrine Meyer

Description :

The SUBAT Project is a specific targeted research project, funded by the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission, and set up to provide scientific basis for the decision of the Commission to maintain or not Ni-Cd batteries in electric vehicle applications.

Summary :

In fact, the European end-of-life Directive (2000/53/EC) has put limits on the use of heavy metals (mercury, hexavalent chromium, lead and cadmium) in all vehicles put on the market after July 1, 2003 , but the Annex II to the Directive has exempted Ni-Cd batteries for electric vehicles until December 31, 2005.
Therefore the SUBAT Project, started on January 1, 2004 with a duration of 15 months, will have to examine the advisability to maintain Ni-Cd batteries in electric vehicle applications and nvestigate their progressive substitution with other batteries.


To decide if Ni-Cd batteries can still be used in electric vehicle applications, a comprehensive and complete assessment of commercially available and forthcoming batteries will be made. The vast range of available traction batteries will be analysed, including both batteries already in use and under development. Environmental impact will be quantified, as well as the evaluation of the economic consequences of their introduction and/or withdrawal for the European battery industry.

Therefore the overall goal of the project has been deployed in specific objectives as follows:
• analyse the offer on the basis of an exhaustive technical assessment and carrying out comparisons on different technologies available;
• analyse the environmental impact by mean of a complete life-cycle analysis to allocate environmental score to define them as being a sustainable solution or not;
• analyse the demand on the basis of an economical assessment and determine the viability of the electric vehicle on the market depending on different types of batteries.


WP1 - Technical assesment
WP2 - Environmental assessment
WP3 - Economical assessment
WP4 - Data collection
WP5 - Overall assessment
WP6 - Project management

The CEESE is involved mainly in the workpackage 2 and 4 (WP2-WP4) of SUBAT.

WP2 - Environmental assessment : the environmental performance of all considered battery types will be taken into account following a lifecycle- analysis approach encompassing the following issues:
• Sustainable production and in particular investigations of availability of primary materials;
• Environmental production and in particular investigations of environmental impact of extraction and processing of primary materials and of the manufacturing of the battery;
• Environmental application and in particular investigations of emissions from the battery during use, release of components in case of accident;
• End-of-life issues and in particular investigations of recycling of active materials, production of non-recyclable waste, en vironmental impact of recycling processes.

WP4 - Data collection : to make possible the execution of all project workpackages and to achieve overall project objectives, SUBAT needs to obtain and to analyse data related to production, use and recycling of all battery technologies. In addition to literature data, information from the relevant operators in the field of traction batteries will be gathered, covering the whole life cycle of the batteries:
• raw material suppliers
• battery manufacturers
• battery users
• material recyclers.
To allow a smooth data collection process specific questionnaires have been written to gather technical economical and environmental data from battery manufacturers, car manufacturers and recycling operators respectively.


Contacts : Arnaud De Groof, Sandrine Meyer

Begin of the project : January 2004
of the project : March 2005


Sustainable Batteries (SUBAT)