Last week, the European Commission announced it plans to implement sustainability standards for Europe’s growing battery industry. Consultant Circular Energy Storage published a report on lithium-ion battery life cycle and recycling economics this month and its findings ask tough questions of the commission’s proposals.
The centralized nature of policymaking in Beijing would enable component standardization to ease the transition from EV to stationary energy storage use, according to Greenpeace East Asia.
Design-for-recycling is not perceived to be high up the list of priorities for battery manufacturers but solutions do exist. Lithium-ion device recycling is technically feasible but requires an improvement in its business case to take off.
Given the number of batteries (primarily lithium-ion) that are required to decarbonize the power and mobility sectors, the industry is now preparing for a mountain of battery waste. Recycling is technically feasible, but is also subject to sensitive economics. The framework in which recycling companies can achieve the best life-cycle costs for batteries needs to be carefully enabled through policy – and it will likely include a mixture of technologies and business models, in order to allow life-cycle emissions of batteries to be brought down.
The sustainable lithium-ion battery manufacturer wants to secure raw materials to recycle into its products and will tap one of the world’s most advanced electric vehicle markets for its end-of-life batteries.
The trading bloc’s bureaucrats could be praised for grasping the nettle to transform manufacturing in a post-Covid-19 world or accused of burying another slew of red tape whilst member states are distracted, depending on your point of view.
As the sector continues to grow rapidly, delays in manufacturing scale-ups, difficulties sourcing raw materials and a separate path taken by the electric vehicle sector could all chuck ‘sand in the gears’, according to analyst Wood Mackenzie.
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