Concerns about climate change are driving a surge in demand for electric vehicles.
EVs reduce emissions from cars, trucks and buses, which account for 30% of greenhouse gas pollutants. The switch to EVs is growing worldwide. His website for Simply Insurance predicts that by 2040, 58% of global car sales will be electric.
In 2021, China’s EV sales will jump to 3.3 million units. Chinese government officials have told automakers that by 2030, EVs will account for 40% of his total sales (39.78 million).
In western states such as California, Washington, and Oregon, their respective governors have enacted similar mandates requiring all new cars, trucks, and SUVs sold after 2035 to run on batteries or hydrogen. I’m here. Currently, Washington has 84,000 EVs, with a goal of reaching 1 million by the end of 2010. A very difficult task is finding sufficient amounts of lithium, nickel, cobalt and graphite to manufacture them.
The International Energy Agency recently reported that global lithium consumption has increased by 33% since 2020.
At least 384 new graphite, lithium, nickel and cobalt mines will be needed to meet demand, reports Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Most metals are mined in the South American trio of Indonesia, China, Australia, South Africa, Russia, Congo, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.
Together with Japan and South Korea, China accounts for 95% of the world’s lithium battery production. China’s known lithium reserves are her 1 million tonnes, her fourth largest after Chile, Australia and Argentina.
“If you take raw material recycling into account, that number is about 336 mines,” predicts London-based Benchmark, which tracks supply chain data for lithium-ion batteries.
Better and more recycling is key to addressing these shortages and reducing the need for new mining. A recent study found that most lithium-ion batteries are not reprocessed. Only 5% is recycled in the US.
Nearly all lead-acid batteries in gasoline and diesel vehicles have been salvaged, but billions of used lithium-ion batteries are accumulating in landfills and storage.
Nearly 10 billion (approximately 465,000 tonnes) of used electric vehicle batteries need treatment, according to IHC Markit analysis, and that number is expected to rise to 29 billion by 2025.
Much of today’s recycling consists of dropping whole batteries into a furnace to melt, shred or crush them, said Ryan Melsert, CEO of American Battery Technology Co. method.
There are lessons to be learned from lead-acid batteries, says Mersart, “wherever you can buy them, you can return them.”
Something similar must happen with lithium-ion batteries. A newer closed-loop hydrometallurgical process that is environmentally friendly is being tested. RecycLiCo Battery Materials Inc. (Surrey, British Columbia) has patented the process and has successfully demonstrated plants recovering over 99% of lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt. This system is attractive in that the leaching agent can also be recovered, reprocessed and reused.
Recycling EV batteries is complicated. EV batteries have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years, with approximately 3,000 battery cells per vehicle, depending on model. These batteries come in all sizes and various configurations.
The scope of the problem is daunting. According to Princeton University’s Net Zero America study, reaching net zero emissions by the middle of the 20th century would mean that the number of EVs would increase from about 1 million today to 210 to 330 million. I mean
Automakers need to invest additional resources and make recycling a higher priority.it is an integral part of their business success
Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer, and columnist. He can be reached at theBrunells@msn.com.