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Recycling Power

November 2022 – Battery circular economy trends, announcements and news from Australia and around the world

Key messages: solutions to increasing battery recycling need to be targeted at industry segment; research and investment is a priority in technologies to support safe and sustainable battery recycling; and OEMs continue to link with battery recyclers.

  1. Four recommendations to chart a course toward every battery being properly recycled
  2. Creating a circular economy – Used alkaline batteries become feedstock for new products
  3. Research and investment in safe and sustainable lithium battery recycling
  4. OEMs + battery recyclers continue to partner up
  5. What will it take to recycle millions of warn out EV batteries?
  6. Join ABRI and be part of the growing Australian battery recycling industry
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1. FOUR RECOMMENDATIONS TO CHART A COURSE TOWARD EVERY BATTERY BEING PROPERLY RECYCLED

In this opinion piece available on Waste Dive, Call2Recycle CEO Leo Raudys lays out four recommendations around education, infrastructure, handling and labelling for the US EPA to consider as it distributes historic levels of infrastructure funding. The EPA has $25 million and five years to put in place best practices for collecting batteries and develop guidelines for an updated national voluntary labelling system that promotes recycling.

The four priority areas:

  • Educate households and businesses about battery recycling and expand options for recycling of single-use batteries
  • Support the creation of an infrastructure for large-battery recycling
  • Improve the handling of damaged, defective, and recalled batteries
  • Roll out clear and consistent national standards for voluntary labelling
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2. CREATING A CIRCULAR ECONOMY - USED ALKALINE BATTERIES BECOME FEEDSTOCK FOR NEW PRODUCTS

In alkaline battery recycling news over 2022, the industry shows how used batteries create feedstock for new products such as fertilizers and metals recovery for input into commodity exports:

  • Nordic Foodtech VC has invested in Finish startup Tracegrow, a company taking industrial sidestreams and used alkaline batteries to manufacture different end products for agriculture and industrial use.
  • Total Reclaim group is expanding into alkaline battery recycling by end 2022. The company operates in Washington State and Alaska, US and is looking to bring on alkaline shredding lines on the West Coast for use as fertilizer in the agricultural sector.
  • Nystar’s Port Pirie operations in South Australia will take used alkaline batteries and recover commodity-grade quality raw materials, such as zinc and copper, for international markets.
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3. RESEARCH AND INVESTMENT IN SAFE AND SUSTAINABLE LITHIUM BATTERY RECYCLING

Research and investment to support safe and sustainable battery recycling is growing to both improve recycling processes and activities across the supply chain.

  • Cylib, a German start-up, recently received €3.6 million to commercialise recycling technology which it states is able to extract all the materials from a lithium-ion battery with high levels of efficiency and in an environmentally friendly way. Reusing emitted CO2 and eliminating the need for chemicals to recover lithium and graphite, Cylib claims will make its approach the most efficient and sustainable on the planet.
  • Join the team from the Sunday Roast and listen to their podcast discussing the development of Halo Boxes, storage and transportation boxes for lithium batteries with Robin Brundle a director and cofounder of Recyclus Group. The Group is a UK based battery recycling company.

 

 

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4. OEMS + BATTERY RECYCLERS CONTINUE TO PARTNER UP

Linkages between OEMs and battery recyclers continue to be a strong trend as OEMs seek to strengthen sustainability across the supply chain. Announcements over the past month include:

  • Cirba Solutions, a US battery recycling, and General Motors have extended an agreement to recycle electric vehicle (EV) lithium-ion battery and cell scrap generated by manufacturing and research at select GM facilities through 2024.
  • Li-Cycle and Vines Energy Solutions, have announced the launch of a global recycling partnership. Vines specialises in the research, development and manufacturing of advanced batteries for mobility and energy storage applications.
  • TES and Volvo Buses Singapore have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore options for creating circular economy outcomes for electronic scrap and electric vehicle (EV) batteries stemming from Volvo Buses’ operations in Singapore.
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5. WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO RECYCLE MILLIONS OF WARN OUT EV BATTERIES?

EV battery recycling challenges and solutions under development in the US are discussed in depth in this article by Ula Chrobak published in Knowable Magazine. The article also has a great list of references to further materials including:

  • An analysis of the financial viability of lithium battery recycling; and
  • Technical analysis of recycling processes, such as recovery of cathode powder, improvements to pyrometallurgical processes to reduce energy use and building a circular metals economy

This article originally appeared in Knowable Magazine, a non-profit publication dedicated to making scientific knowledge accessible to all. Sign up for Knowable Magazine’s newsletter.

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6. JOIN ABRI AND BE PART OF THE AUSTRALIAN BATTERY RECYCLING INDUSTRY

Workshops – Presentations and policy discussions from leading industry players and research institutions

Policy and advocacy – working with governments on a national waste tracking system

News – member bulletins on key regulatory and other events, general bulletins on industry news

Collaboration with Australian Battery Industry Association on industry issues e.g. lithium ion battery safety

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