Nobel Prize Winner Says Battery Recycling Key to Meeting Electric Car Demand
Japanese chemist Akira Yoshino Yoshino, M. Stanley Whittingham, a British-American professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton, and German-born professor John Goodenough (University of Texas) were awarded with a Nobel Prize for their pioneering work on modern lithium-ion batteries.
Yoshino predicts EVs will make up about 15% of new car sales after around 2025.
Analysis & Comments
This is not just a simple, “lets recycle more” issue, there are a lot of moving parts.
As the article highlights, we first need a system for collecting the end of life batteries, in many countries this does not really exist in a structured way.
There are some analysts who argue that the next step should be reusing these batteries in stationary storage, so called second life applications.
There are multiple reasons why this will probably not be viable. First, is the cost curve, why use old, repurposed, depleted batteries, when it is cheaper to use new, higher power, more efficient batteries.
Second, the growing use of fast chargers means that batteries will deplete faster, so in only say 5 years for a higher use EV, the battery will likely not have enough remaining recharging capacity to be useful, especially if it was a fleet vehicle (50% of demand in Germany & UK – two of the biggest, by number, EV markets in Europe).
So recycling, to extract & reuse the raw materials, becomes critical. Companies that have a material exposure to EV battery recycling are Umicore & Veolia.