5 Best Lithium Battery Recycling Firms for the New EV World

5 Best Lithium Battery Recycling Firms for the New EV World

The global lithium battery recycling market is projected to grow from USD 4.6 billion in 2021 to USD 22.8 billion by 2030. This implies a CAGR of 19.6% during the forecast period 2021-2030. Rising investments in EVs and subsidies to encourage battery recycling are some of the key opportunities for the lithium-ion battery recycling market.

The lithium-ion battery is made up of scarce metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, etc., and has a limited life span. It is difficult to dismantle it and get back its components again. Spent batteries contain hazardous chemicals, including acids and heavy metals, such as mercury and lead. This poses a major problem for the electric vehicle (EV) industry. The solution lies in its recycling and storage applications.

The number of EVs on roads seems only to increase at exponential rates in the near future. The sector has already pegged 6.6 million global sales in 2021, compared to 3 million a year earlier. Consequently, this will result in a rising volume of used batteries in the ecosystem. If left untreated, these may end up impacting health, and there will be associated environmental hazards. Hence, managing them is the need of the hour.

There are various start-ups and some established businesses that are up for the challenge of Li-ion battery recycling.

So, here is the list of 5 battery recycling firms that matter and lead the global market.

Lithion Recycling Inc. (Canada)

Canada-based Lithion Recycling is a Company that allows environmentally responsible and economically viable management of lithium-ion batteries. Direct recycling allows for the easy extraction of valuable cathode materials and provides a cheaper alternative to battery manufacturers. The firm has one of the highest recycling capacities in the world, an annual processing capacity of 7,500 metric tonnes. In simpler terms, this is equivalent to 20,000 electric vehicles.

What else? The firm boasts of reaching a 95 percent recovery rate. The technology closes the loop for regenerating batteries. In the medium term, it will drive down the cost of vehicles by providing easier access to key elements

Li-Cycle Corp. (Canada)

Li-Cycle is a start-up from Canada that uses a combination of mechanical size reduction and hydro-metallurgical resource recovery techniques designed for recycling lithium-ion batteries. The company provides the recycling technology for safely processing lithium-ion batteries that have minimal greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, it enables a sustainable end-of-life pathway for all lithium-ion batteries. The core benefit of their recycling technique is in the generation of a non-hazardous product that minimizes transportation liability and significantly lowers costs.

With addition of company’s latest Spoke 3 facility last year, Canadian firm’s overall recycling capacity reached up to a mammoth 20,000 tonnes per year.

Duesenfeld GmbH (Germany)

German Duesenfeld builds an electrolyte recovery method. This technology combines mechanical and thermodynamic processes in order to save the energy required for recycling and also to recover more raw materials. Energy-efficient processes and the ability to recover a substantial amount of material ensure they have a low carbon footprint after completing recycling operations. By 2020, the firm established modern plant processing over 3000 tonnes per annum Li-ion battery recycle.

The electrolyte recovery method resolves the problem of irreparable damage to a battery’s core. Interestingly, the technology applies low-freezing temperatures to erase the harmful effects of the electrolytes. This method does not produce toxic fluorine compounds. It also allows for reduced energy consumption, especially after the combustion and washing stages.

Fortum (Finland)

Fortum also uses a combination of mechanical and hydrometallurgical technologies to recycle the battery materials. With a new additional plant last year, the capacity of the firm reached for recycling 3000 tonnes annually. The low-CO2 processes allow the recovery of lithium, cobalt, manganese, and nickel from the battery for reuse in the production of new batteries. The battery treatment processes are safe, sustainable, and efficient. They claim that 80 percent of a battery can be recycled with the combination of mechanical and hydrometallurgical recycling processes. Interestingly, 95 percent of the valuable metals from the battery’s black mass are recoverable.

Envirostream (Australia)

Envirostream is Australia’s only major onshore mixed-battery recycling company. It offers a range of battery collection and disposal services, including collection units, numerous drop-off locations, and full battery processing. With new installation of its second battery recycling plant in Laverton, Victoria, last year, its claimed spent-battery sorting capacities reached up to 4,000 kilograms per day.

It has a great scope for growth in next few decades. According to the CSIRO, Australia generates close to 3,000 tonnes of lithium-ion battery waste per annum. Interestingly, it suggested the waste volume could surpass 100,000 tonnes by 2036!

Asia in Race of Lithium Battery Recycle

Asia’s two most populous economies, China and India, are set to see manifold increase in EV market. With this, comes the challenge of battery recycle plants catering to the recycling needs of huge consumer base.

India is lagging behind in the Lithium recycle race. As per estimates, India will need an excess of 60,000 tonnes of recycling capacity in next five years. Currently, the major players in India in the niche are Lohum, Attero, Recykal, and Karo Sambhav. At present, Lohum claims to recycle 6000 tons of li ion batteries recycled annually (1GWh).
Or 0.5Mill electric 2w recycled annually.

Others like Attero have a lithium-ion battery recycling capacity of 1,000 metric tonnes per annum. Contrastingly, India is generating more than 50,000 tonnes of lithium-ion battery waste every year, presently. Thus, India’s capacity is far lower and thus need a boost in recycling capacity.

China, on the other hand, accounts for 77 per cent of the EV battery-recycling capacities in Asia. One of the largest EV markets of last few years, China’s total decommissioned power batteries reached about 200,000 tons in 2020. The figure has been estimated to rise to about 780,000 tons by 2025. Some of the major recycling firms of China are GEM, Hunan Brunp Recycling Technology (erstwhile scrap company), Quzhou Huayou Cobalt New Material.

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