June 19, 2022

Why Is Battery Recycling Vital to Sustainability?

There has been significant investment in the battery industry to develop products that not only store energy efficiently but also are sustainable. With the current advancements in transitioning the electricity sources from fossil fuels to renewables and more efficient methods, batteries have come to play a critical role. The need for storing electricity and the high demand for Electric Vehicles (EVs) are indications that the market for battery production and recycling would grow significantly. Figure below shows the electric vehicle sales within a few decades. As indicated, it is projected that by 2040, the size of the EVs market would significantly increase across the globe.

Graph Credit and Copyright: US Department of Energy

Figure below shows the battery recycling market share as of 2020 and the forecast for 2030. As seen, Lead-based batteries are currently the dominant type recycled across all industries. Lithium-based batteries were only commercialized in early 90s but they are dominating the market specifically the EVs. The need for recycling this type of batteries is projected to increase significantly within the next decade.

Graph Credit and Copyright: Allied Market Research

Therefore, it is obvious that battery recycling industry would dramatically grow and thus, there will be a high demand for innovations and investments in this sector.

It should also be noted that battery recycling would be vital for environment and human health. Batteries should properly be collected and then recycled to prevent contamination of soil, air and water by carcinogens components such as lead, acid, nickel, are cadmium.

Currently, mechanical, hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical processing methods are used to recycle batteries. However, there are opportunities for innovations and development of methods that mitigate the adverse effects of the current technologies on the environment.

In overall, it is clear that enhancing battery recycling technologies which are sustainable and green would be essential to the sustainability of the energy and electric transportation sectors.

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