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.

Trend of Reusing and Recycling Lithium Ion Batteries by Application
Trend of Reusing and Recycling Lithium Ion Batteries by Application

Market Overview

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.

Noteworthy Topics

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.

Future Outlook

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.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: Research period: August 2021 to January 2022
2.Research Object: Business and technologies that reuse and recycle lithium ion batteries (small consumer-use batteries, automotive batteries, and energy storage systems)
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by expert researchers (including online) and literature research

Reusing and Recycling of Lithium ion Batteries

Reusing and recycling of lithium ion batteries in this research refer to secondary use of unnecessary lithium ion batteries after being disposed of or being replaced, and to recycle cobalt, nickel, and other metal ingredients extracted from used-up batteries into new materials for cathode components and for other applications.

The volume of discarded automotive lithium ion batteries, the volume of those batteries reused and those recycled after being collected are calculated based on the number of xEVs (HEVs, PHEVs, and BEVs) mounted with lithium ion batteries at each region, taking into account of quantitative information and qualitative information obtained from this research.  

<Products and Services in the Market>

small consumer-use lithium ion batteries, automotive lithium ion batteries, and lithium ion batteries for energy storage systems (as a reference, these incude trend of reusing and recycling of nickel-hydrogen batteries)

Published Report

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