Global Trends of Reusing and Recycling of Lithium ion Batteries 2021
Reusing and Recycling of Lithium Ion Batteries Swaying in Between Current Challenges and Future Possibilities, Upcoming Efforts will be Important for Expansion toward New Business Ranges exceeding Conventional Framework
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the global trends of reusing and recycling lithium ion batteries.
As the significance of measures against climate change and sustainability rapidly growing in recent years, the promotions of xEVs (HEV, PHEV, BEV) by the policies of the countries around the world have been accelerating, which is expected to boost faster market expansion of lithium ion batteries to install in such vehicles.
As a way to take measures against potential massive disposal of lithium ion batteries, which is highly likely, interests in reusing and recycling of such batteries have been increasing. On the other hand, when reusing lithium ion batteries, some risks in hazardous resources such as cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), lithium (Li), etc. must be take into account.
A proposal of a new regulatory framework for batteries that EU announced in 2020 include mandating of the use of recycled materials for lithium ion batteries. After this announcement, attention to reusing and recycling of lithium ion batteries is increasing, accelerating the efforts to secure recycled materials for upcoming use.
State of Disposed Automotive Lithium Ion Batteries
Global volume of automotive lithium ion batteries discarded in 2021 was estimated as 96,850 tons. When observing this by region, China occupied 94% in 2021. This is because the government-led development of PHEVs and EVs since around 2015 has grown ahead of other countries, which has caused increase in disposal of such batteries to be ahead of other countries as well.
The volume of disposed automotive lithium ion batteries being collected differs from region to region, but they are below the volume assumed. In China, there is influx of lithium ion batteries aside from those discarded by whitelist companies certified by the country, while in Japan there are BEVs and HEVs being exported as used cars. These situations are causing lower volume of discarded automotive lithium ion batteries being collected.
The global market of reused and recycled lithium ion batteries is expected to grow for the future, but the current situation of disposed volume of automotive lithium ion batteries is lower than assumed in each region. It is necessary to overcome the challenges for collecting those discarded batteries for the market expansion hereafter. In terms of LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), technologies to suppress CO2 in recycling is attracting attention, and these new trends of recycle technologies should be observed closely.
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