Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are complex products, and their recycling is more complicated. Li-ion battery recycling is the process of recovering valuable materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, alumunium, and copper from used or end-of-life lithium-ion batteries. Recycling batteries helps to reduce environmental pollution, conserve natural resources, and prevent the accumulation of hazardous materials in landfills. They are also used in various applications, such as portable electronic devices, electronic appliances, electric vehicles (EVs), and energy storage systems (ESS). The growing government incentives for battery recycling and the recovery of valuable materials are expected to create growth opportunities for the players operating in this market.
Growing Government Incentives for Battery Recycling
The improper disposal of batteries can lead to air and water pollution along with several adverse impacts on the environment. Thus, countries across the globe are investing in battery recycling activities aimed at reducing the number of batteries disposed of as municipal solid waste. In addition, increased recycling means less mining of raw materials for the batteries and reduced environmental harm.
In addition, the governments of developed as well as developing countries around the globe are introducing incentives for battery recycling activities. For instance, in February 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the availability of over USD 3.1 billion in funding for battery and component recycling, manufacturing, and second-life incentives. Under these incentives, the U.S. government is anticipated to support the development of retrofitted, new, and expanded battery production facilities. Similarly, in December 2022, the state Office of Economic Development of Nevada, U.S., awarded over USD 105 million in tax incentives to expand a massive lithium battery recycling plant in northern Nevada. Such incentives associated with battery recycling activities around the globe are expected to create lucrative growth opportunities for the market.
Furthermore, there are several emerging government investments in electric vehicle (EV) battery recycling, offering further market growth opportunities. For instance, in November 2022, the U.S. government announced funding of USD 74.0 million for 10 projects to advance processes and technologies associated with EV battery recycling and reuse.
Rising Recovery of Valuable Materials
Li-ion batteries are made of minerals, including cobalt, lithium, nickel, and manganese. The ongoing recycling trend of batteries ensures the extraction of valuable raw materials and the safe disposal of hazardous waste. Various players in the Li-ion are working towards 100% recycling end-of-life batteries. In addition, the players are developing an innovative process to purify and recover valuable materials enclosed in the used battery modules. For instance, in February 2022, Umicore (Belgium), a materials technology company, signed an agreement with Automotive Cells Company (ACC) (France) to introduce an innovative technology that improves the battery recycling process with an enhanced extraction efficiency of valuable materials. According to Umicore, this technology is projected to ensure negligible waste and minimal environmental impact. This trend toward the recovery of valuable materials is expected to offer growth opportunities for the overall Li-ion recycling market.
Moreover, emerging rules & regulations for recycling, production, and repurposing of batteries around the globe to increase the recovery of valuable materials from used batteries are further projected to create lucrative growth opportunities for the market. For instance, in December 2022, the European Commission announced the introduction of a new law aimed at making batteries more sustainable, safe, and circular. As per the commission, this law will ensure the collection of all end-of-life batteries and valuable materials such as copper, cobalt, nickel, lithium, and lead are recovered at the end of their useful life.
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