New Recycling Guide: More Production Scrap Than Spent Batteries

20/12/2023

According to current forecasts, approximately 900,000 tons of global waste from battery production in 2030 will exceed the global mass of spent batteries. Against this backdrop, the Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University, German Engineering Federation VDMA, and Battery LabFactory Braunschweig (BLB) have published the second edition of their Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries guide. The completely updated document summarizes the state of the art in the recycling of lithium-ion batteries on almost 30 pages and is available as a free download.

  Print version of the 2023 Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling guide Copyright: © PEM RWTH Aachen University

Recycling rates of up to 95 percent

"The waste resulting from increasing battery production will make higher recycling capacities necessary in the near future," says PEM Director Professor Achim Kampker: "In order to implement sustainable concepts, all players along the value chain must address this issue – from material synthesis to battery cell, battery module and battery pack production through to the utilization phase and raw material recovery." Recycling rates for individual materials of up to 95% have already been proposed by the Circular Economy Initiative Deutschland and are also envisaged by the EU in its new battery regulation. "However, strong price fluctuations of individual battery materials over the past few years also pose a major challenge for the predictability and profitability of recycling plants," Kampker says.

More transparency predicted in the battery industry

The guide first looks at the basics of battery recycling, including end-of-life strategies for lithium-ion batteries, the material composition of battery systems, the structure of cathodes and anodes as well as the legal framework for recycling. The guide goes on to describe established recovery processes and new approaches as well as special forms of recycling with their respective advantages and challenges. The team of authors comes to the conclusion that "the high requirements for the recovery of materials and the use of recyclate quantities strengthen the recycling market in Europe" and that "the battery passport and the disclosure of the carbon footprint ensure greater transparency in the battery industry." Energy efficiency of recycling processes is also gaining in importance.

The Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries guide is available free of charge in the Electric Mobility Guides section.