Why Lithium Ion Battery Recycling is So Important?

Lithium-ion batteries can be used in a wide range of items, including cell phones, laptops, and earbuds. Every time you use and recharge the battery, it gradually and continually loses its capacity to completely charge. The amount of lithium in a battery decreases with time due to a process known as solid electrolyte interphase and emptying a battery to the point where it is dead leaves some lithium stranded in the cathode. That’s why, within a few years, you’ll notice yourself charging the batteries in your older equipment or leaving them plugged in all the time just to have enough power to use them. Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) are also used extensively in consumer devices and electric vehicles to store energy. The use of LIBs in consumer electronics and electric vehicles is fast expanding, increasing demand for minerals such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium. As of 2017, the worldwide stock of electric cars was at 3 million, with that figure predicted to rise to 125 million by 2030 and 530 million by 2040.  Lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt concentrations are frequently higher in many LIBs than in highly enriched ore. Therefore, these metals can provide the same advantages as natural ore if they are collected on a big scale from end-of-life batteries.

Fig. 1 Market growth in automotive lithium-ion battery markets, both recent and predicted.

Figure 1 illustrates the current and expected growth of automobile electric cars. This clearly demonstrates how much worldwide attention is being given to the development of a circular economy for battery materials.

When Li-ion batteries are recycled, they are split into distinct components. Salt concentrates of cobalt and lithium, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and plastic.

As a result, battery recycling will be required not just to reduce energy consumption, but also to decrease scarcity of rare materials and minimize pollution from dangerous components, as we move toward more sustainable sectors such as consumer electronics and electric cars. Furthermore, recycling can assist in reducing future price fluctuations in cobalt and other essential elements, in addition to the dependency on mining and refining. Additionally, recycling would decrease the amount of electrical waste that ends up in landfills. In sum, increased recycling would imply less reliance on raw materials and less environmental impact.

Recycling lithium-ion batteries necessitates the use of specialized techniques and equipment. As a result, they are only handled by a well-equipped and devoted recycling team. In our role as a Proses Makina Company, we create and produce Li-Ion battery recycling systems for both chemical and physical processes. We have carried out a number of R&D studies on electric car battery recycling, and we continue to attain the best efficiency for each of our clients.