In 10 years, at least 1.2 million tons(1) of lithium-ion batteries will reach end-of-life. Are your battery recycling capabilities primed to extract the most out of these spent packs?

The International Energy Agency predicts that more than 145 million(2) electric vehicles (EVs) will hit the roads by 2030. Not only that, OEMs are pressured to deliver EVs with a lower carbon footprint by 2050. However, as the challenge of sustainable EVs grows, so does the pile of spent lithium batteries that once powered those cars. Faced with the shortage and price increase of the components, OEMs and battery manufacturers are boosting their recycling process to recover materials from the returned packs to build new batteries.

Improve the Way You Recover and Recycle

Ready to tame the complexity of battery recycling? Discover how virtual twin technology on a unified platform can help you extract valuable materials safely while lowering the carbon footprint.

Challenges in Battery Industry

The global battery market is rapidly expanding. By 2025, the consumption of lithium batteries is projected to grow by at least 400%(3). But challenges remain:

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Regulatory pressure

Authorities are imposing the Battery Passport, which calls for traceability into the entire lifecycle while mandating higher collection and material recovery rates and recycled components in new batteries.

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Finite materials

Mining precious materials like lithium, nickel and cobalt is energy-intensive and takes up a lot of resources and time while often contributing to severe climate impact in South America and Africa's national reserve areas.

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Battery recyclability

Most batteries are not designed for recyclability, so recyclers must navigate complex designs, technologies and chemistries that make disassembly costly, time-consuming and energy-intensive.

Digitalize Towards a Low-Carbon Future

When equipped with the right digital capabilities, companies can safely recycle batteries while conserving valuable materials and avoiding waste — from the transportation of spent batteries and disassembly of harmful components to the production of new packs.

The bottom line? Virtual twin technology can help optimize how batteries are reused, remanufactured and recycled while minimizing the environmental footprint. In a digitalized battery value chain, companies can:

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Optimize end-of-life

A spent EV pack holds about 70 to 80% charge and can be reused to power streetlights or even energy storage systems (ESS). This type of reuse can extend battery life for up to 10 years. But to determine its viability for a second life, companies need to accurately assess the battery’s state of health. By leveraging the virtual twin on a unified platform, companies can gain full traceability to monitor their battery usage and predict which pack will reach end-of-life first.

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Redefine processes

It costs more to recycle batteries than to mine more lithium to make new ones. Since large-scale, cheap ways to recycle batteries are lagging, only about 5% are recycled globally, meaning the majority end up as waste. With virtual twin technology, companies can simulate the disassembly and recycling processes based on battery types, technologies, designs and chemistries — and recover materials with the highest quality and the least resources.

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Strengthen circularity

A circular economy for lithium batteries ensures responsible hazardous waste disposal through better collection methods and reduces dependency on traditional raw material supply chains. By optimizing the lifecycle through the virtual twin on a unified platform, OEMs and battery manufacturers can close the loop from end-of-life to the supply of raw materials.

It’s essential to take the entire battery value chain into account. By bringing together multidisciplinary teams to infuse desired outcomes from the beginning, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables OEMs, battery manufacturers and recyclers to look at how they can do things differently while meeting sustainability and compliance objectives.

Lithium-ion batteries are ubiquitous in everyday life. It’s time to unpack the challenges and opportunities in battery recycling and power the industry towards a circular economy.

Explore our Solutions

Learn more about how High Tech industry solution can help you optimize battery recycling and strengthen competitive advantage.

Source: "Lithium batteries – 1.2m tons ready for recycling by 2030” by PV Magazine (November, 2019)
2 Source: "Global EV Outlook 2021” by IEA
3 Source: BloombergNEF (June, 2021)

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FAQ About Recycle batteries & Lithium battery recycling

Recycling batteries is an important part of keeping our environment clean and safe. Batteries contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, and must be recycled properly to prevent these materials from entering into the environment. There are a few different ways to recycle batteries, such as taking them to a local recycling center or sending them to a battery recycling company. Knowing how to properly recycle batteries can help ensure that hazardous materials are handled safely and do not end up in landfills or in our waterways.

Lithium batteries are one of the most difficult types of batteries to recycle due to the complexity of their chemical makeup. Because of this, lithium batteries must be disposed of in a special way that ensures that the hazardous materials contained within them are not released into the environment. Additionally, the process of recycling lithium batteries is costly and time-consuming, making it difficult to make it a viable option for many businesses.

Lithium batteries are a common component in many of our everyday electronics, from cell phones to laptops. Although lithium batteries are a great source of power, they can be difficult to dispose of in an environmentally friendly way. Fortunately, there are a few steps that can be taken to ensure that lithium batteries are recycled properly.

  • Advancements in technology are driving increased recovery rates, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and improved economics as recycling processes become more efficient. Governments are supporting these advancements through research and innovation grants, facilitating the advancement of recycling technologies.
  • Various automotive OEMs and cell producers are prioritizing the stability of their supply chains by focusing on securing local sources of recycled raw materials at stable prices.
  • Automotive OEMs prioritize decarbonization and ethical supply-chain goals, favoring recycled battery materials over newly mined ones. Recycled materials exhibit approximately four times lower carbon emissions, resulting in over 25 percent lower carbon-emissions footprint per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of battery cell capacity produced.

Car batteries are lead-acid batteries consisting of lead-based alloy plates submerged in a 65% water and 35% sulfuric acid electrolyte solution across six cells to generate voltage.