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New battery recycling methods could make e-cars cheaper

New battery recycling methods could bring down the price of electric cars (image: Redwood Materials)
New battery recycling methods could bring down the price of electric cars (image: Redwood Materials)
The recycling of batteries is becoming more crucial in the field of electromobility. As the demand for electric cars rises, so does the need for materials to produce lithium-ion batteries. To meet climate targets and maintain affordable prices for electric vehicles, sustainable methods of recycling used batteries are essential.

New battery recycling methods aim to make electromobility more environmentally friendly and ensure affordable prices for electric cars. Electric car batteries require materials from sources that are becoming increasingly scarce due to the diminishing availability of some key minerals. Raw materials relevant to lithium-ion batteries include cobalt, lithium, graphite, nickel, and manganese.

These materials must be used efficiently and recycled to reduce waste and preserve resources. The popularity of electric vehicles is driving up demand for materials used in lithium-ion batteries. It is projected that by 2050, the demand for lithium could increase by 20 times. While geological availability is not currently a concern, there may be a temporary shortage of raw materials.

Furthermore, sustainable consumption of raw materials is crucial for promoting climate-friendly mobility and facilitating a clean energy revolution. Recycling is crucial for improving the greenhouse gas balance of batteries. New recycling processes can efficiently extract the metals from used batteries, for example from laptops, various electrical appliances or electric cars: Cobalt and nickel can be almost completely recycled, lithium more than 80 percent.

CATL, Redwood Materials and Li-Cycle

For instance, CATL engages in battery recycling and inaugurated a recycling facility in Ningde, China in 2020. The plant can recycle 10,000 tonnes per year of lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese from used lithium-ion batteries. The company aims to recycle 80% of its waste batteries by 2030.

In recent years, companies like Redwood Materials and Li-Cycle have made significant progress and become key players in battery recycling. Redwood Materials, founded by the former CTO of Tesla, closed a USD 1.3 billion financing round in 2022, while Li-Cycle received USD 1.5 billion in capital from public and private investors in 2023.

Recycling is not enough

Battery recycling alone will not be enough to meet demand. Nevertheless, several solutions can reduce the material requirements for electric car batteries and help achieve climate targets. These solutions include developing new battery technologies that require fewer raw materials, using renewable energies for lithium-ion battery production, and improving electric vehicle efficiency.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 12 > New battery recycling methods could make e-cars cheaper
Nicole Dominikowski, 2023-12-24 (Update: 2023-12-24)