Recycling of Advanced Batteries for Electric Vehicles Page: 4 of 9
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cost effective means exist for the collection and reclamation/recycle of electric vehicle
batteries at end-of-life.
Generic Issues in EV Battery Recycling
Several generic issues have been identified during discussions of potential recycling
processes for EV batteries. These are not specific to particular battery chemistries, and
may appear to varying degrees depending on other uses and markets for the materials
involved. The EV battery market is potentially very large in numbers and each battery is
also relatively large in capacity, so that the amount of material that could eventually be
available for recycling is also large. This has consequences for the choice of recycled
product and on whether it would be preferred to sell materials on the open market or use
them strictly for new battery production. If the existing market for a recycled material is
small compared to the amount that would be generated from recycled EV batteries, a
collapse in the price may occur or it might not be possible to sell the reclaimed material at
If the existing market supply is much larger than what would be generated from EV
batteries, the price will be relatively insensitive, but also low. Materials with high prices
tend to have limited markets while those with low unit prices tend to be produced in very
high volumes. This can be illustrated using curves called exclusion charts3, which show a
certain price level is "excluded" at a given production volume. The amount of material
available to reclaim or recycle from EV batteries at a given point in time has also been
difficult to predict. Small amounts of scrap from prototype battery production are
typically not of interest to processors that have a recycling or reclamation process already
running and the amounts are also too small to support a dedicated recycling facility.
Larger amounts of material will become available as production ramps up, but the rate of
increase and the life of product in the field are uncertain, at best, in the early stages of
development. The smaller size of the batteries needed for the hybrid vehicle application
has likely made recyclers more reluctant to invest in process development until a threshold
volume is reached for the waste stream.
Another generic concern is that the development, licensing and full scale implementation
of a new battery recycling process could take as much as 10 years2. The time for approval
of permits is particularly unpredictable and could be several years in itself. This motivates
the use of preexisting recycling facilities that are already permitted and built and reduces
the dependence of the recycler on a single waste stream during the early stages of
commercialization. However, the drawback to this approach is that it is unlikely that such
a facility would be able to carry out a comprehensive recycling operation on an advanced
Advanced Battery Chemistries Likely to be Found in EVs
The growth in the population of EVs in the past few years has continued to be measured.
With the modification of the California program from mandates to memoranda of
Here’s what’s next.
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JUNGST,RUDOLPH G. Recycling of Advanced Batteries for Electric Vehicles, article, October 6, 1999; Albuquerque, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc620051/m1/4/: accessed September 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.