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Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Market Size Forecast to Reach US$10.7 Billion by 2026

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Market Size Forecast to Reach US$10.7 Billion by 2026
Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market
Increasing Government Regulations and Policies To Promote and Encourage More Recycling and Reuse of Li-Ion Batteries Driving the Growth of Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Market

Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market size is forecast to reach US$10.7 billion by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 24.8% during 2021-2026. The Lithium-ion battery recycling market is influenced by rising demand for electric as well as hybrid electric vehicles, where Lithium-ion batteries are used extensively. The adoption of these vehicles results in a price hike of battery materials such as cobalt and lithium, thus making recycling of Lithium-ion battery industries more profitable. In addition, limited availability of the raw materials used in Lithium-ion battery manufacturing and high demand from various end-use industries fuels the market for Lithium-ion battery recycling. However, low cost sodium ion batteries are in development and although they produce lower power when compared with lithium ion batteries, they are safer to use. In addition, multivalent batteries such as AI3+ are currently under research and are cheaper to manufacture. These products may hamper recycled lithium ion batteries demand.

COVID-19 ImpactsHowever, operations in various industries such as electronics, automotive, power, and so on have been significantly affected due to the COVID-19 epidemic, as most countries have issued “stay at home guidance” i.e., lockdown. The operations of these industries have been halted and are facing issues such as late delivery and increased import-export tariff due to strict movement restriction, which is heavily affecting the Lithium-ion battery recycling market growth.

Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market Segment Analysis – By Recycling by Chemistry 

Lithium-Cobalt Oxide (LCO) held the largest share in the Lithium-ion battery recycling market in 2020 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 20.1% during the forecast period. The Lithium-Cobalt Oxide batteries have very stable capacities. The thermal stability issues are better for Lithium-Cobalt Oxide than other chemistries, owing to this its demand is high. Its high specific energy makes Li-cobalt the popular choice for mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras. The LCO battery consists of a cobalt oxide cathode and a graphite carbon anode. The cathode material contains 60% cobalt and accounts for 50% of the weight of the cathode. 

Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market Segment Analysis – By Process

Pyrometallurgy Process dominated the Lithium-ion battery recycling market in 2020 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 27.1% during the forecast period. Using this process, cobalt, nickel and copper are recovered effectively, whereas lithium and aluminum are lost in slag. The pyrometallurgical processes are often coordinated with hydrometallurgical processes to recycle the valuable metals. The demand of pyrometallurgical processes for recycling lithium ion batteries is high. 

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Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market Segment Analysis – By Source of Scrap Batteries

Electronics segment was the major Lithium-ion battery recycling market in 2020 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 14.9% during the forecast period. Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in electronic devices such as laptops, cell phones and power tools due to which the growth of electronic devices leads to growth in usage of Lithium-ion batteries which further drives the Lithium-ion battery recycling market. One of the major reasons for need to the recycle Lithium-ion batteries in electronics is that modern electronics contain circuit boards that smolder together various metals and plastics. Some of these materials are toxic and there is a need to keep those toxins out of landfills, where they can contaminate the soil and water. Hence recycling of Lithium-ion batteries protects environment and lowers the cost of manufacturing new products. Recycling of Lithium-ion batteries is highly efficient as they offer a large amount of energy in a tiny package which helps to keep electronic like phone or laptop running all day. According to international trade statistics, global sales from cellphone exports by country totaled US$288.9 billion in 2018. Hence, rise in exports of electronics like cellphones leads to increase in usage of Lithium-ion batteries which in turn drives the Lithium-ion battery recycling market.

Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market Segment Analysis – By Geography 

APAC dominated the Lithium-ion Battery Recycling market with a share of approximately 73% in 2020 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 23.1% through the forecast period. Established Lithium-ion battery manufacturers in the region, in China, and government regulations under which manufacturers are responsible for setting up collection and recycling facilities for spent batteries are fueling the Lithium-ion battery recycling market in the region. According to the studies of CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), Australian lithium ion battery (LIB) waste is growing at a rate of over 20 % per annum as a direct reaction to the increasing demand and interest in portable and rechargeable electronic equipment and electric vehicles. Therefore, a group of battery manufacturers, recyclers, retailers, government bodies and conservation organizations have founded the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) to promote the collection, recycling, and safe disposal of all batteries. In 2018, 1.29 billion Lithium-ion batteries were produced domestically, up from 760 million in 2003, according to Japan's Tokyo-based Battery Association. Therefore, owning to these factors APAC dominates the market.

Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market Drivers

Increasing Government Regulations and Policies to Promote and Encourage more Recycling and Reuse Of Li-Ion Batteries

The occurrence of different potential environmental as well as human health impacts of Lithium-ion batteries has led the various health authorities to propose stringent government regulations and policies to promote and encourage more Li-ion battery recycling and re-use. In order to curb these issues, various governments have taken several initiatives.  For instance, in Germany, the law has mandated that the expired batteries be submitted to the designated stores for recycling. In addition, in September 2015 China released its regulations on the Recycling of Motive Lithium-ion Batteries, which encourage Evs (Electric Vehicles) manufacturers to set up their own Li-ion battery recycling infrastructure. The European Union adopted the Battery Directive in 2006, which is intended to control and recycle the batteries in general. The Battery Directive is intended to help the EU to protect, and preserve the environment by minimizing the negative impact of waste batteries. According to the European Portable Battery Association (EPBA), the batteries obtained are recycled to reuse and recover contained metals, instead of disposing of them. These trends are helping the major players in the market to establish a strong foothold over the market.

Limited Raw Materials Availability and High Lithium-Ion Battery Demand

Raw materials used to manufacture Lithium-ion battery are limited, in comparison to its demand from different end-use industries such as automotive, power, and consumer electronics, among others. Furthermore, the materials used in the batteries are hazardous to the environment. Recycling of Lithium-ion batteries will allow better and long-term usage thereby controlling the manufacturing process resulting in lower carbon-dioxide emissions. Therefore, these factors are driving the lithium- ion battery recycling market 

Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market Challenges

Recycling Infrastructure Set Up is Capital Intensive

Li-ion battery recycling comes in with its own set of challenges. The main issue is that the recycling of batteries requires expensive infrastructure and sophisticated equipment to enable the process to extract and treat the emissions. The operations are high cost, energy-intensive and may not recover all valuable materials. In addition to Li-ion batteries, a battery often carries components that need to be tackled, e.g., sensors, safety devices, and circuit control, adding another layer of cost and complexity to the recycling process. Such factors thus serve as an obstacle for the demand for recycled li-ion batteries.

Drawbacks of Lithium Batteries and Availability of Alternatives

Some of the drawbacks, such as overheating lithium batteries, pose a threat to industrial safety along with the inadequate charging infrastructure and various options for lithium batteries such as hydrogen fuel cells, ammonia-powered batteries and others on the market may hinder the market. In addition, safety issues related to the storage and transport of spent batteries pose limitations in the market.

Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market Industry Outlook

Technology launches, acquisitions and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market. The key players in the Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market includes Shenzhen Green Eco-manufacturer Hi-Tech Co. (GEM), Valdi (ERAMET), Umicore Battery Recycling, JX Nippon Mining and Metals Co., Accurec Recycling GmbH, among others.

Joint Ventures/Product Launches

In December 2019, Umicore and Audi collaborated to reduce the electric battery waste and recover the cobalt and nickel being used. These metals can again be used to make new battery cells.

In September 2019, ERAMET, BASF and SUEZ, founded a Li-ion battery recycling project and received funding from EU. Batteries from Electric vehicles are to be recycled by a closed loop process. The project is called ReLieVe project (Recycling Li-ion Batteries for Electric Vehicle). 

Key Takeaways

Asia-Pacific dominates the global Lithium-ion Battery Recycling market, owing to increasing government regulations and established Lithium-ion battery manufacturers in the region. As per Recycling International, 67,000 tons of lithium ion batteries were recycled in China and about 18,000 tones in South Korea in 2018. 

According to forecast by the International Energy Agency, electric car deployment has been growing rapidly over the past ten years, with the global stock of electric passenger cars passing 5 million in 2018, an increase of 63% from the previous year. This is influencing Lithium-ion battery recycling market growth. 

The automotive sector is moving towards eco-friendly side. For instance, Mexico’s climate legislation targets emissions cuts of 50% by 2050 (from 2000 levels) and 35% renewable energy by 2024. Mexico City’s overall goal is to reduce emissions by up to 30% (8 to 10 million tons of CO2) from business as usual between 2014 and 2020. This will further support Lithium-ion battery recycling market growth.

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