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Circular Economy & Recycling of Batteries in 2022

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Ciruclar Economy Battery Recycling -Russian Raw Materials Wiki Battery 2022 Explaines Circular Economy For Batteries And The Battery Supply Chain In The Industry.

Battery Supply Chain Issues to be resolved

The extensive adoption of Li-ion batteries employed in electric cars will need increased natural resources to a large extent from the automotive industry. The expected rapid surge in batteries can result in new resource shortage (e.g. Nickel, Cobalt, Lithium, Copper, and Vanadium) and battery supply chain risks. To reinforce the resilience and sustainability of battery supply chains of the automotive and battery industry and to reduce primary resource (mining metals) dependencies, better circular economy strategies are required. 

Circular Economy can solve supply chain issues

Circular Economy promises that the extraction of primary raw metals, such as Nickel and Cobalt, primary supplies can be reduced. Nickel and Cobalt are import components in the majority of the high-energy density batteries used in electric automotive and electric aerial transportation-systems today.

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Circular-Economy---Recycling-Of-Batteries-And-Battery-Raw-Materials--Wikibattery-En

The four powerful strategies in circular economy in the EU

Modern Circular Economy algorithms can perform material flow analysis to understand current and future flows of the battery materials (e.g., Cobalt and Lithium) integrated in batteries across the production-consumer and value chain.

In a circular economy model, there are multiple strategies possible which can strengthen the resilience of the battery-supply chain.

These strategies are:

  • technology-driven substitution cobalt and other critical components
  • technology-driven reduction of cobalt nd other critical components
  • new business models to stimulate battery reuse/recycling
  • governmental policy-driven strategy to increase recycling (see also Batterieverordnung 2022)

More Competitive Circular Economy Strategies needed in 2022 and beyond

Current industry trends go toward new technologies which provide the most promising strategies to reduce the reliance on critical cobalt substantially, but this could result in burden shifting such as an increase in a future nickel demand. To avoid the latter, technological developments can be combined with an efficient recycling of the Lithium-Ion Batteries.

In the future more ambitious circular economy strategies, at a)  technological-substitution (e.g. remove a component and substitute it with something new)b) technological-substitution (e.g. reduce the amount of a component), c) government and 4) business levels, are urgently needed to address future material resource challenges across the battery production and value supply chain.

The EU has launched the “Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency” Action Plan in February 2021 to bring together governments, relevant networks and organizations.

Ukraine War 2022 and Russian Raw Materials for Electric Cars

With respect of the War in 2022 there will be many new questions concerning supply chains for battery materials which need to be addressed.

May 2022: European Union (EU) to become more independent on Russian Raw Materials

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Securing-Battery-Supply-Chains-With-Circular-Economy---Recycling--Wiki Battery-En

The European Union should get more out of batteries – before they end up in hazardous waste. The European Parliament has been pushing for this for months. It has now introduced a bill with a large majority. Actually, it should be primarily about more environmental protection and employee rights. Because especially were Russian raw materials for batteries such as mined cobalt or nickel. There is often environmental damage, and child labor is too often the order of the day.

EU 2022: High Contribution from the Russian Raw Material Nickel

But now, since Russian troops attacked Ukraine and the world has become a different place as a result, the stakes are much higher. “Since Putin’s terrible war of aggression on Ukraine, I think even the last one realizes that we need the green transformation not only for our climate, but also for our strategic sovereignty. And batteries are the crucial building block for this transformation,” says Green MEP Anna Cavazzini. Europe must also become independent in battery production, she adds.

A large proportion of nickel raw material imports come from Russia. Lately, the price of nickel on the international commodity exchanges has really exploded. Within a few hours, it doubled to around 100,000 euros per ton. For manufacturers of rechargeable batteries and electric vehicles, this is highly worrying news.

 “It is now time for the European Union to act,” said EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius. After all, he said, battery demand will grow massively in the coming years as electromobility (E-Mobility) continues to develop. “In light of the Russian attack on Ukraine and the task of making Europe independent of imports, new legislation is also urgently needed for the battery sector,” Sinkevicius said.

Recycling rate to rise sooner than later

In the coming years, the recycling rate for batteries is to be gradually increased to up to 90 percent. Newly produced batteries must contain a minimum proportion of recycled material. Manufacturers must precisely calculate and make transparent the durability and service life of their products. These regulations will apply not only to industrial batteries or power storage units in electric cars, but also to batteries in headphones, game joysticks or in computers and laptops, phones or e-bikes. In addition, there will be a stipulated right to repair or replace batteries – which today works especially well for many cell phones.

“The recycling of valuable and environmentally critical materials in batteries will precisely be a key to a sustainable and competitive industry that should be at the forefront worldwide,” says SPD MEP Ismail Ertug. And Danish MEP Pernille Weiss from the Christian Democratic EPP Group explains that this shows respect for nature’s resources, which are not infinite – and that is right and good. A new European battery regulation could come into force as early as the beginning of next year. At least, that is the wish of a majority in the European Parliament.

In the coming years, the recycling rate for batteries is to be gradually increased to up to 90 percent. Newly produced batteries must contain a minimum proportion of recycled material. Manufacturers must precisely calculate and make transparent the durability and service life of their products. These regulations will apply not only to industrial batteries or power storage units in electric cars, but also to batteries in headphones, game joysticks or in computers and laptops, phones or e-bikes. In addition, there will be a stipulated right to repair or replace batteries – which today works especially well for many cell phones.

Literatur und Referenzen

  1. EU launches Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (2021), European Union (EU) >> link
  2. Green Deal: Sustainable batteries for a circular and climate neutral, European Union (2021) >> link

  3. Joris Baars, Teresa Domenech, Raimund Bleischwitz, Hans Eric Melin, Oliver Heidrich, Circular economy strategies for electric vehicle batteries reduce reliance on raw materials. Nat Sustain 4, 71–79 (2021). 

  4. Jessica Dunn, Margaret Slattery, Shuhan Shen, Circularity of Lithium-Ion Battery Materials in Electric Vehicles, Environmental Science & Technology (2021)

  5. Roberto Sommerville, Pengcheng Zhu, Emma Kendrick. A qualitative assessment of lithium-ion battery recycling processes, Resources, Conservation and Recycling (2021)

  6. Circular Economy on Wikipedia >> link

  7. https://www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/technologie/eu-batterieverordnung-101.html

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