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World battery market worth US$ 60 billion

Switzerland – The global battery market was worth US$ 60 billion in 2014, according to Christophe Pillot of consulting firm Avicenne Energy. Speaking at the recently-held International Congress for Battery Recycling in Montreux, Switzerland, he said this represents average growth of 5% per annum between 1990 and 2014.

According to battery type, 2014 sales totalled: some US$ 35 billion for lead-acid batteries; US$ 19 billion for Li-ion batteries; just over US$ 2 billion for NiMH; and US$ 1 billion for NiCd. Pillot calculated that Li-ion sales have already exceeded US$ 24 billion so far this year, with the other types recording more or less the same results.

A large chunk of last year’s sales (US$ 20 billion) was attributable to start light batteries for motorised vehicles and boats, followed by industrial batteries (US$ 13 billion) and portable batteries (US$ 11 billion). According to Pillot, automotive batteries for the worldwide e-mobility sector were worth US$ 10 billion while e-bikes made a US$ 3 billion contribution.

‘Market potential for lithium recycling from electric vehicles is very promising,’ noted Martin Steinbild of major lithium products manufacturer Albemarle. He cited ‘tremendous volumes’ of material arriving at scrap yards as lithium demand would soon ‘more than double’, going on to suggest that recycling processes must be robust to tolerate material changes and variations in the input stream. ‘And new recycling technologies must be explored,’ he urged.

Carl Smith, ceo and president of North American compliance scheme Call2Recycle, told the same congress that his organisation had increased its collections by 3% last year to a total of 11.966 million batteries, comprising 7.742 million rechargeable batteries (up 20% on 2013) and 4.223 million primary batteries (down 4%).

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