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When will battery recycling be profitable?

Recycling batteries is attracting interest. An analysis carried out by the firm PwC in collaboration with the RWTH University of Aachen in Germany aims to determine when this activity will become profitable.

According to a study by RWTH university (polytechnic college of Rhineland-Westphalia) of Aix-la-Chapelle in Germany and the cabinet of consulting PwC, setting up a battery recycling system in the European Union will cost approximately nine billion euros by 2035.

But this will be rentable. In the words of Jörn Neuhausen, sector expert at PwC, the recycling of electric car batteries in Europe “ will be a profitable and sustainable activity before 2035“. Before specifying: Recycled materials could account for up to 30% of lithium, nickel and cobalt needs in battery cell production in 2035« .

The battery recycling market will grow after 2030

Growing electrification and increased production of batteries for electric cars will drive the recycling market in Europe, said Achim Kampker, a professor at RWTH Aachen. In the years to come, it will mainly be waste from gigafactories growing that will be recycled. And the study estimates that there will still be overcapacity at recycling facilities.

But from 2030, things should change. Indeed, it is at this time that the first large quantity of electric cars will be withdrawn from the market, and therefore recycled.

Huge investments

Once this peak is exceeded, the recycling market will be fully exploited. But the study carried out jointly by the university and the firm specifies that this will require colossal investments on the part of market players.

The numbers put forward are enormous. More than 2.2 billion euros annually for the treatment of battery-related waste. These represent approximately 570,000 tons materials to be recycled per year, including rare minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese or even graphite.

The volume of recycling will allow a certain profitability

Due to high investment costs, dedicated infrastructures will become huge complexes optimized solely for recycling. With a high volume of materials coming from end-of-life electric cars, the battery recycling will see its cost decrease fairly quickly. And according to the study’s estimates, the battery industry will then be less expensive, leading at the same time to lower costs for electric vehicles. Patience !

Source : Automobilwoche

Read also :

Autonomy, charging time: what do the batteries of the future promise us?

Volkswagen will source from Hyundai for the batteries of its electric cars

Electric vehicles: the transition will not be so simple

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