Battery Recycling in 2024: Key Considerations for Recyclers
Posted on 22nd January 2024
Battery recycling is undergoing significant transformations driven by pivotal trends and impending regulations. This article delves into key developments in 2024 that will shape the future of battery recycling across the next decade, highlighting the challenges and opportunities that industry players need to navigate. So how can battery recyclers get ahead of the game, and what should you start looking out for in 2024?
1. Prepare for battery passport regulation
The EU is set to introduce battery passport regulation aimed at creating better traceability in the circular economy from February 1st 2027. The EU regulation will require all industrial batteries exceeding 2 kWh sold within the EU to have a ‘unique battery passport’ in the form of a QR code.
Any battery recyclers not already tracking individual batteries through their operations will need to start planning for operational changes to their existing processes. Systems will have to be fully functional before 2027 to avoid widespread disruption, so early preparation is key here.
Battery recyclers must choose a system that is scalable to manage additional information required over time on battery passports, as well as complex data management.
2. Adoption of innovative hydrometallurgy techniques to recover lithium
Hydrometallurgy processes are becoming increasingly prevalent in extracting lithium, marking a notable shift in the lithium extraction landscape.
Comparative analysis of recovery technologies for Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries indicates the superior performance of hydrometallurgy technology (Science Direct).
Hydrometallurgy can directly handle low-grade and complex materials, enhancing the comprehensive utilisation rate of resources.
Innovative hydrometallurgy techniques are vital for LFP batteries as they enhance efficiency in the evolving landscape of battery technologies.
3. Understand critical mineral policies led by governments
By 2040, the world is expected to need 4 times the critical minerals it needed in 2020, to power the clean energy technologies of tomorrow.
Increasingly, governments are introducing strategic plans, international coordination mechanisms and investing government funds to ensure mineral resource resiliency.
As with battery passport regulation, international coordination and planning are going to put more demands on battery recyclers to increase efficiency around data and traceability.
4. Prepare for increasing demands from OEMs
Car manufacturers are under increasing pressure to collect automotive batteries for treatment and recycling, due to government regulation on Extended Producer Responsibility [e.g. the Waste Batteries and Accumulators (2009)].
However, manufacturers are also responding to demand from consumers for more visibility on the origins of critical minerals and how batteries are disposed of.
What does this mean for battery recyclers?
The facilities that have mastered advanced traceability are more likely to attract larger car manufacturers as clients.
5. AI integration in battery recycling facilities
According to the consultancy Accenture, most companies are not ready to deploy generative AI at scale. Generative AI requires vast amounts of well-organised data to operate efficiently.
In other words, companies that lack strong data infrastructure and lack
mature data will struggle.
Developments in the field of artificial intelligence can facilitate the utilisation of innovative tools such as machine learning to gain a deeper understanding, predict outcomes, and optimise hydrometallurgical processes more intelligently and sustainably.
For battery recyclers, AI is likely to be a key determinant of success in a highly competitive market. However, for recyclers to get ahead of the game, they must start building up their databases now.
Gaea is here to help recyclers prepare for implementing generative AI by collecting data around yields, tracking every tonne they process and understanding profitability. We also track commercial and operational performance as it happens.
In 2024, the battery recycling industry faces transformative shifts. As the EU introduces battery passport regulations and demands from OEMs change, early preparation is key. Vertical SaaS solutions like Gaea offer tailored approaches for efficient and adaptable processes.
Government policies and OEM demands underscore the importance of data management and traceability. Automation and AI become decisive, with Gaea aiding recyclers in building databases for success.
Navigating these trends positions recyclers for sustained growth and efficiency, making today's choices pivotal for the future of battery recycling.
Want to learn more about how Gaea helps battery recyclers? You can read about why we founded Gaea here.