China boosts EV battery recycling tech as demand ramps up

China boosts EV battery recycling tech as demand ramps up

China boosts EV battery recycling tech as demand ramps up 1024 577 Energy Storage Journal

July 27, 2023: China recycled around 115,000 tonnes of electric vehicle batteries in the first five months of this year, but the nation’s recycling capacity still lags behind market demand, state media reported on July 24.

Xinhua News Agency, quoting data from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said the country has more than 10,000 recycling centers, which processed a total of about 277,000 tonnes of end-of-life batteries in 2022.

The number of used EV batteries should rise to one million tonnes annually after 2025.

However, MIIT vice minister Xin Guobin said Chinese recycling companies have varying levels of technical ability to efficiently recover valuable materials for reuse.

While technologies exist to recover valuable materials from batteries such as nickel, cobalt and lithium, there is room for improvement on both efficiency and capacity, according to Xin.

He said the recovery rate of nickel and cobalt by “advanced companies” is about 95% and more than 90% for lithium 90%. But the recycling rate of lithium in some companies may range from 70%-80%.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Qinghai Salt Lake Research Institute are working with recyclers to help boost recovery capacities, MIIT said.

Research team leader Wang Min said work involves the application of membrane separation technology to extract lithium by acid leaching with, he claimed, the purity of the recovered lithium carbonate reaching 99.69%.

The recovery rate of lithium in the whole process he says had reached 92.24%.

Wang said the technology involves an unspecified process that reduces the use of chemical reagents.

Energy Storage Journal reported last September that China was introducing new measures to tighten regulations for EV battery recycling — and to promote “technological breakthroughs in the dismantling and efficient recycling” of used batteries.

Photo: Ganfeng Lithium