The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces a new effort under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) New Chemicals Program to implement a streamlined and efficient process to assess risk and apply mitigation measures for new chemicals with applications in batteries, electric vehicles, semiconductors and renewable energy generation. The New Chemicals Program reviews all new chemical substances before they enter the marketplace to bring innovative chemistries to market in a way that does not harm human health or the environment, according to the agency.
“From job creation to energy security – clean energy sectors will power the future of our country,” says Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff in a press release. “Streamlining our review of new chemical substances that make up electric vehicle batteries and that can be used in other vital emerging markets will allow manufacturers to super-charge production, bolstering our economy and advancing the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals to protect the environment and combat the climate crisis.”
The new process is for mixed metal oxides (MMOs), including new and modified cathode active materials (CAMs). MMOs have numerous electrical applications in batteries as well as use as catalysts, adsorbents and in ceramics. Notably, MMOs, including CAMs, are a key component in lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. New MMOs can also be used for semi-conductors, and renewable energy generation and storage, such as solar cells and wind power turbines. They typically consist of lithium, nickel, cobalt and other metals, and they are the key material used in the production of the cathode in battery cells, which are subsequently assembled into a battery.
Like all chemical substances not listed on the TSCA Inventory, MMOs, including new and modified CAMs, are subject to section 5 of TSCA, which requires manufacturers (including importers) of new chemical substances to provide EPA with notice before initiating the activity by submitting a Premanufacture Notice (PMN). When EPA receives a PMN, TSCA requires the agency to fully assess all the potential hazards and exposures of the new chemical substance, make a determination as to whether it presents an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment, and take steps to address that risk before it can enter commerce.
Read the press release at www.epa.gov