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Electric vehicles have taken off, what about recycling of their batteries ?

It’s a watershed moment of history in energy & automotive sector, and time will tell, if we acted rightly onto it. The global concern on climate change & fuel emissions has propelled world into adopting Electric Vehicles at a really fast pace, with about 3 million new electric cars getting registered last year itself.

After a decade of rapid growth, the global electric car stock has hit the 10 million mark, a 43% increase over 2019, and representing a 1% stock share and the number of EVs on the roads are expected to rise from 10 million in 2020 to upwards of 145 million by 2030.

With all this, one surely wonders, that as electric vehicles take off, are we suitably taking care of recycling of the batteries?

Electric car batteries contain critical minerals like cobalt and lithium and we’ll need to recycle them unless we want to keep mining the earth for new ones, In a recent report by Earthworks, it’s stated that Recycling has the potential to reduce primary demand compared to total demand in 2040, by approximately 25% for lithium, 35% for cobalt and nickel and 55% for copper. This creates an opportunity to significantly reduce the demand for new mining.

To put forth, we must also bring in the economics attached with it. In terms of revenue, the market size of lithium-ion battery recycling market is anticipated to reach $38.2 billion by 2030, growing at CAGR of 36.0% from 2021 to 2030. The potential customers of the lithium-ion battery recycling market are consumer electronic devices, power tools, electric vehicles, energy storage devices and others.

To reduce the need for new mining, experts say we’re going to have to get a lot better at recycling EV batteries when they die, and we are going to have millions of tons of them, decommissioned over the coming decades. Only with better recycling methods and appropriate government policies, it can be ensured that batteries don’t wind up in landfills instead.


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