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Recycling Technology for Lithium Could Help in Drive Towards EVs

Recycling Technology for Lithium Could Help in Drive Towards EVs
26 November 2020 | Updated 27 November 2020
 

A new and efficient way to recycle lithium from rechargeable batteries may help to meet the upcoming surge in demand for electric vehicles and battery materials.       

As recently announced, 2030 will see a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel non-hybrid cars, as part of a ten-point plan to tackle climate change. To support this acceleration, the Prime Minister has announced that £1.3 billion will be dedicated to the rollout of charge points for electric vehicles in homes, streets and on motorways across England.

The world will increasingly need sustainable raw materials for EV batteries as the electrification of cars rapidly increases the need for the valuable materials and chemical elements batteries contain, such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese.  

Lithium is one of the most valuable components in lithium-Ion batteries. However, there has been difficulty in recovering lithium and making it available quickly enough to meet the rising demand for batteries to power the huge drive towards electric vehicles.  

 

Reducing the Impact of Recycling Lithium

 

Finnish-based Fortum has patented a breakthrough technology for a new recovery method to reduce the environmental impact of recycling lithium and make it possible for EV car producers and battery manufacturers to make a smoother and more sustainable transition to electrically powered vehicles. 

The company also hopes that environmentally concerned consumers will factor in the importance of vehicle batteries containing sustainable lithium when it comes to buying electric vehicles and cars. 

“This is a major development which will help meet and drive the massive demand for electric cars,” says Tero Holländer, Fortum Head of Business Line, Batteries. 

“With our new patented technology, we are able to recover Lithium from EV batteries in a more sustainable way, but we will also have the capabilities to produce battery-grade material on an industrial scale.” 

“The reclamation of lithium and other elements from recycled sources supplements the mining of scarce metals, improving the sustainability aspects of EV production and lowering the CO2 footprint of batteries produced.”

 

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Market Set to Boom

 

There are very few working, economically and sustainably viable technologies for recycling most of the materials in lithium-ion batteries, especially outside of the Asian continent.  

The global lithium-ion battery recycling market was worth about EUR 1.3 billion in 2019, but it is expected to boom in the coming years to more than EUR 20 billion. According to a forecast by the International Energy Agency, the number of electric vehicles on the world’s roads will increase from three million to 125 million by 2030.  

Picture: a photograph of an EV being charged

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 26 November 2020

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