Main reasons why LFP battery recycling is important

Introduction

Under the background of continuously increasing new energy vehicle sales and installed capacity of EV-Type LIB used in EVs, the batteries used throughout the early years will gradually be scrapped and recycled. Moreover, assuming the average service life for an EV-Type LIB is around 5~8 years, the amount of scrap batteries will increase in the future and it is estimated by 2030, the annual scrap volume in China will exceed 2.37 million tonnes, achieving a CAGR of about 28.3% over the next 9 years.

Principal Processing Methods

LFP battery recycling steps include:

  1. Discharging and dismantling steps with the classification of the different battery components
  2. Separation of the LiFePO4 active material from the Al foil
  3. Leaching step performed on the active material by hydrometallurgical methods.
LFP battery recycling processing flowsheet
Figure: LFP battery recycling processing flowsheet

Commercialisation

From 2022 to 2025, the proportion of China’s electric vehicle sales using LFP batteries is estimated to be 65%. In addition, the energy density of LFP batteries will maintain an upward trend and service life will average 5 years. Based on this, by 2030, the projected market size of retired LFP batteries in China will reach 1.53 million tonnes. Lastly, the projected market size of retired ternary batteries will reach 842,000 tonnes, respectively.

Competitive Landscape

Firstly, China has been developing its own domestic LIB recycling industry to disassemble and recycle LIB sourced from the global market. Moreover, today the industry has reached a level with several competing companies establishing a handling capacity exceeding 1 million tpa. However, at present, EV-type LIB scrap resources available for recycling in China are limited. Moreover, in 2023, the amount of scrap available for recycling was far less than the existing recycling capacity.

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