As the world increasingly turns to batteries for sustainable energy solutions, we are at the cusp of an era where batteries are envisioned not just as passive energy storage units, but as autonomous devices, capable of communicating and transacting. This evolution towards batteries as their own agents unlocks unprecedented levels of efficiency and functionality, paving the way for numerous innovative uses and business models.
This evolution is especially significant in the context of the emerging EV battery sharing economy, where concepts like battery swapping, bidirectional charging, and decentralized grid storage are gaining traction. This new economic model promises significant benefits, opening the door to more circular and efficient battery lifecycles. However, realizing this potential hinges on overcoming trusted identity and data issues, critical information sharing gaps, and permissioned-traceability challenges in the global battery value chain.
2.1 The Need for a Digital Battery Birth Certificate Verifiable Credential (BBC-VC)
The battery value chain is a vast and intricate network involving hundreds to thousands of stakeholders, each playing a distinct role in the battery lifecycle. For a comprehensive list of these stakeholders, please refer to Section 5.
Driving circularity and bridging information gaps within this complex ecosystem will necessitate the establishment of a standards-based, decentralized Web3 infrastructure. Such an infrastructure will enable stakeholders to securely share (to intended recipients) and authenticate information about a given battery at every stage of its lifecycle.
Worldwide, policies like the EU Battery Regulation, the US Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, and CARB regulations mandate digital recordkeeping to meticulously track battery lifecycles and verify domestic contents, underscoring the growing necessity for a digital Global Battery Passport (GBP) — a comprehensive record that tracks a battery’s lifecycle from material mining through production, uses, and disposal.
Central to this GBP is the Battery Birth Certificate (BBC). (Note: We envision a battery’s GBP includes its BBC along with other verifiable credentials about its usage and lifecycle history). BBC-VCs are digital certificates that provide a comprehensive permissioned-traceable record of static battery information at its formation (“birth”). Information in the BBC-VC includes:
- Battery Specifications: Battery capacity, chemical composition, and performance characteristics
- Manufacturing Specifications: Ethical sourcing, production date, manufacturing facility, production batch, etc.
- Quality Assurance: Information related to the quality control tests and certifications
2.2 Challenges in BBC-VC Implementation
Within the global battery value chain, countless public and private stakeholders operate with distinct processes for managing sensitive business and consumer data on centralized legacy systems. This fragmentation presents challenges in authenticating the history and uses of any given battery, particularly as it enters its end-of-life. However, in complex battery supply chain networks where trust incurs significant frictional costs, Web2 (centralized) solutions fail to provide adequate security, interoperability, and extensibility needed to enable secure data exchange and authentication between siloed stakeholders for BBC-VC issuance.