Growing Demand for Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries Metal Worldwide
The high “energy density” of lithium-ion battery chemistry is a tracing track for the increased demand for lithium-ion batteries in the market. Energy density is the amount of energy stored by a system in an amount of space. Lithium batteries are smaller and lighter than other batteries beholding the same amount of energy. Alongside, this miniaturization furnishes a rapid increase in the consumer adoption of portable and cordless products.
Methodical analysis of the core and adjacent markets of lithium-ion in the industry critically assesses the business dynamics of the lithium-ion battery metals market, including drivers, challenges, and opportunities for various market players.
Lithium-ion batteries are made up of a variety of metals, including lithium, nickel, aluminium, iron, manganese, and cobalt. Among these metals, cobalt is the most expensive metal, costlier than the average cost of all other battery metals combined.
The price of cobalt has historically been extremely volatile, and a large part of the volatility can be attributed to the fact that cobalt is often extracted as a by-product of nickel and copper mining. At the same time, it is subjected to the demand and price fluctuations of these metals.
These fluctuations have led researchers and lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery manufacturing companies to focus on cobalt-free batteries.
In response to the nature conservation and supply chain concerns that have arisen because of China’s monopoly on these critical metals, manufacturers and researchers are developing cobalt-free batteries.
In a report published by BIS Research, the lithium-ion battery metals market was valued at $14.53 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $286.08 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 34.00% between 2022 and 2031.
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The lithium-ion battery metals market is driven by several factors, including the surging demand for Li-ion batteries from the automotive industry, consumer electronics, and energy storage systems.
In recent years, Li-ion batteries have registered an exponential surge in demand from the automotive industry, with sales of electric vehicles (EVs) reaching record heights.
Rising Demand for Li-ion Batteries
The increasing need for electric vehicles and electronics products such as laptops, mobile phones, and the Internet of Things (IoT) devices has led to a promising demand for lithium-ion batteries all over the world.
Moreover, the growth of the lithium-ion battery metals market contributes to the growing adoption of lithium-ion batteries in stationary energy storage systems.
Globally, China dominated the market in 2021 with a share of 71.86%. However, the Asia-Pacific and Japan region is anticipated to gain traction in terms of lithium-ion battery metals production.
The global market estimation of lithium-ion batteries includes revenue reported by selling the recycled metals or elements, whether that goes into further battery recycling or to second usage applications. Reportedly, most metals recovered are to be used in battery manufacturing only.
Need to Recycle Lithium-Ion Batteries and the Arising Complications
From both household and industrial waste perspectives, used batteries have been a problem for decades. Even the most advanced rechargeable lithium-ion batteries may still contain materials that are considered hazardous.
Additionally, these Li-ion batteries may damage during transporting or processing meanwhile creating a fire hazard if the battery or electronic device that contains the battery is disposed of in the trash or placed in the recycling bin with household recyclables such as plastic, paper, or glass.
The key trend in the lithium-ion battery recycling market is a higher energy efficiency requirement in technologically updated consumer gadgets and the high adoption of electric vehicles.
The risk of fire or poisoning could increase during the end-of-life stage of any modern electronic device, and poor handling, storage, and disposal could increase.
The real “battery crisis” is still ahead of us, which is for sure a much bigger problem to arise.
Lithium-ion batteries can be recycled, but it’s not such an easy job; multiple challenges are in the way, which brings the recycling process to progress at a slower pace.
Lithium is a reactive element; let’s just say that dumping a lithium battery into a load of paper recycling wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do. Even with circumspect handling, stockpiling water li-ion batteries is potentially unsafe and a risk to the environment.
Recycling is the only viable solution since these batteries can’t be reused directly, unlike other materials. In addition, lithium battery recycling reduces the need for new mineral extraction, which is always good for the environment.
Companies are expected to invest in battery recycling research and development in the coming year. For instance, a Massachusetts-based company, Ascend Elements announced in April 2022 that it had developed a new process Hydro-to-Cathode for capturing battery metals and transforming them into new battery materials after recycling.
While several other companies are looking forward to investing in recycling technology to save precious metals and try to close the supply-demand gap in the industry, battery recycling is expected to play an important role in this.
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