With global lithium demand set to more than double by 2030, recycling end-of-life EV batteries will be key to creating a sustainable circular economy for this critical battery material, as well as helping to decarbonise EV production and satisfy new EU regulations for sustainable batteries.

Lithium is the one of the key components in EV batteries and is set to see rapid growth in demand over the next decade, due to rising EV adoption. Benchmark forecasts global lithium demand will more than double by 2030.

Currently the UK is reliant on the global market for lithium and other critical battery materials. With UK demand set to reach over 60,000 tonnes per year by 2035, the development of a secure domestic supply chain will be critical for the electrification of transport and the transition to net zero.

Altilium’s planned recycling operations in the UK will provide enough sustainable lithium for production of over 250,000 new EV batteries a year – enough to fuel over 80% of all EVs sold in the UK in 2023.

Recovering lithium from old EV batteries in the UK can also reduce the emissions associated with battery production, making EVs even cleaner. Altilium’s lithium carbonate has 56% lower carbon emissions than lithium produced from hard-rock mining.

Unlike traditional pyrometallurgical recycling processes, which are inefficient and can only recover the nickel and cobalt, Altilium’s EcoCathode™ process can recover all of the valuable minerals, including lithium, at a quality and quantities which meet both new regulatory demands and the quality demands of the market.

Under the EU’s new battery regulations, recyclers will have to recover a minimum of 50% of lithium from waste EV batteries from December 2025, rising to 80% by 2031. Altilium’s EcoCathode™ process can recover over 97% of the lithium from LFP batteries, which far exceeds these targets.

New batteries manufactured or sold in the EU will also have to contain mandatory minimum levels of recycled lithium, initially set at 6% from 2031, rising to 12% by 2036.

Altilium’s “full battery circularity” solution, offering EV battery collection, recycling of end-of-life batteries and chemical refining to battery-ready materials, will support automotive OEMs in their efforts to meet these regulatory targets.

By 2040, analysts forecast up to 50% of lithium needed for EV batteries globally could come from recycling, ensuring lithium-ion batteries will continue to play a pivotal role in the shift towards a more sustainable and low-carbon world.

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