Skip to main content

The unknown success of lithium-ion battery recycling

Spiers New Technologies engineer analyses used car battery

‘Recycling of lithium-ion batteries is happening on a much larger scale than most people realise,’ according to London-based consultancy firm Circular Energy Storage.

Upwards of 97 000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries were recycled in 2018. Around 67 000 tonnes were recycled in China and 18 000 tonnes in South Korea. Besides, more than 1 GWh of second-life batteries serve as back-up solutions, energy storage and portable devices.

This suggests a far higher recycling rate than the 2-7% typically cited by researchers and journalists, says Hans Eric Melin, director of Circular Energy Storage. ‘We know from our data (based on input from 50+ leading battery recyclers worldwide) that almost 100 000 tonnes of waste batteries were recycled last year. That’s about 50% of the volume that reached end-of-life.’

Melin points out the ‘average’ recycling rate of 5% is based on ‘obsolete’ data from a 2010 report by Friends of the Earth. This figure is still being recycled to this day, the battery specialist argues.

Meanwhile, the global lithium-ion battery market will be worth approximately US$ 105 billion by 2025, reports Adroit Market Research. In China alone, some 10 billion lithium-ion batteries were produced in 2017. This grew to 12 billion last year. The surge is largely due to strong growth in the electronics and automotive sector.

Would you like to share any interesting developments or article ideas with us? Don't hesitate to contact us.

You might find this interesting too

US metal thieves get away with US$ 300 000 haul
Scrap theft up 25% in England and Wales

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe now and get a full year for just €136 (normal rate is €170) Subscribe