Battery recycling: How it will help fill the lithium supply gap with Elewout Depicker, Li-Cycle

Hear from Elewout Depicker, vice president commercial and corporate development for Li-Cycle, as he explains the most significant barriers to battery recycling as well as what the industry can do to advance these processes

In this video interview, we spoke with Elewout Depicker, vice president commercial and corporate development for Li-Cycle, about the most significant barriers the battery recycling industry is facing, as well as what the industry can do to advance battery recycling processes. He also shares his view on the question, “Can battery recycling be the answer to securing lithium supply?”

Watch the full video interview with Elewout and read the key takeaways below.

What are the most significant barriers currently facing the battery recycling industry?

Elewout explains that there are three significant barriers, these are:

  1. Ensuring you comply with the legislation and regulations depending if you operate in North America or Europe
  2. Appropriately dealing with hazardous waste from end-of-life batteries or black mass
  3. Developing a safe, sustainable and cost-competitive way to recycle these end-of-life batteries

What can the industry do to advance battery recycling?

Regulation and legislation: The European battery directive dictates that by 2030, for example, four percent of lithium needs to come from recycled sources. It sets certain targets for localized content for minimum recovery rates, which really pushes forward recycling by putting legislation around.

More environmentally friendly: Recycled sources versus primary sources have a much better CO2 footprint, lower emissions and lower water usage.

Localized supply chains: Recycling batteries comes with a host of other benefits like localized supply chains reducing your geopolitical dependency on certain parts of the world. There are shorter lead times and you have more reliable supply chains.

Can battery recycling be the answer to securing lithium supply?

In the short term, volumes are quite small but that grows rapidly by 2030. Elewout says that we should expect about 5-15% of the global lithium supply to come from recycled sources. That would depend on your total gigawatt output, the scrap rate at the gigafactories, the second life application for electric vehicles (EV) and the lifetime of the EV.

Depending on these parameters, you could see 5-15% coming from recycling for lithium going up to 30-40% by 2040. Battery recycling in the long term will take off because it is legislation-driven and it comes with the benefits of a lower carbon footprint and lower cost. This will put it in very high demand globally.

Read more about the role of battery recycling in EV growth

Recycling will play a key role in the growth and success of the energy transition, but will limited material hold back the industry? In Fastmarkets’ latest battery raw materials risk matrix report, we discuss how a lack of recycling material could impact the EV market and provide forecasts for available recycling scrap to 2032.

You can read the full report here, which also includes insights into the other factors at play in the risky road ahead for the EV market.

Visit our dedicated battery raw materials page to discover more insights on the factors at play in the industry in 2022 and beyond.

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