Clear report about definitions and development of power battery recycling
- Power battery installed capacity
- Power battery recycling has broad prospects
- Battery recycling is the core link of business models
- High technical requirements for cascade utilization
- Analysis of key power battery recycling factories
Recently, the power battery recycling industry is very popular. On the one hand, the price of power batteries to be recycled has risen rapidly, and recycling companies have even increased their prices to purchase.
On the other hand, more and more companies have entered the power battery recycling industry and want to join the competition in the power battery recycling industry.
Power battery installed capacity
Driven by higher sales of new energy vehicles, China’s power battery installed capacity has rapidly increased. In 2021, China’s new energy vehicle sales will reach 3.521 million units, a substantial increase of 157.5% year-on-year.
Driven by the boom in sales of new energy vehicles, the installed capacity of power batteries in China reached 154.5GWh in the same period, a substantial increase of 142.9% year-on-year. For more details, please refer to our top 10 power battery installations in China article.
The CAGR of the installed capacity from 2015 to 2021 was 45.5%, and the installed capacity continued to grow. According to expert forecasts, the installed capacity of power batteries in China is expected to reach 762GWh in 2026, and the CAGR from 2021 to 2026 is expected to reach 37.6%.
From the perspective of development driving force, the power battery recycling industry is affected by the three elements of environmental protection appeal, strategic value and economy.
- Environmental appeal
Waste power batteries are harmful to the environment and will cause serious pollution if they are not recycled. Although the power lithium-ion battery does not contain heavy metal pollutants such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, the discarded power lithium-ion battery is still harmful to the environment.
In addition, cobalt, nickel, copper, aluminum, manganese and other metals rich in power batteries also have an enrichment effect, which will accumulate in the human body through the food chain and endanger human health.
Power battery manufacturing is a high energy consumption industry, and the manufacturing process will generate a large amount of greenhouse gases. According to experts’ calculations, the current energy consumption for 1KWh ternary battery and lithium iron phosphate battery production is 82.91KWh and 85.78KWh, respectively, and the converted carbon emissions are 50,600 tons/GWh and 52,300 tons/GWh, respectively.
Carbon emissions are mainly concentrated in cathode materials, anode materials and battery production, which together account for nearly 90%. According to the research, from the perspective of the whole life cycle, the carbon dioxide emission per kilometer of new energy vehicles is about 130g/km.
The carbon emissions per kilometer will drop by 22g and 4g, respectively, which will significantly reduce the carbon emissions of new energy vehicles in their entire life cycle.
- Strategic value
From the perspective of resource reserves, the world’s proven cobalt resources have reached 7.1 million tons, concentrated in the Congo (50.7%), Australia (19.7%) and other regions. The proven nickel resources reached 94 million tons, concentrated in Indonesia (22.3%), Australia (21.3%) and Brazil (17.0%).
China’s supply capacity of lithium resources is weak, and its dependence on foreign countries is high. In 2020, the world’s proven lithium resources are 21 million tons, of which China’s proven lithium resources will reach 1.5 million tons, accounting for 7.1% of the world’s total reserves.
However, due to factors such as the quality of lithium resources and mining conditions, China’s actual supply capacity of lithium resources is relatively weak, and its dependence on foreign countries is high.
The waste power battery has strong resource and high value of recycling. The cathode, anode, separator, electrolyte and other battery materials of discarded lithium-ion power batteries still contain a large amount of valuable metals and other renewable components. The cathode material has the highest resource value and is the main object of recycling.
The average cost of lithium electronic power batteries in 2021 is US$101/KWh, of which the positive electrode material is composed of high-value metal compounds such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese, which account for 51% of the cost and have the highest value content. It is the main object of power battery recycling and reuse.
The supply of battery materials is in short supply, and the market price continues to rise. Driven by strong downstream demand and limited battery metal production capacity, battery material prices have risen continuously in the past two years.
Power battery recycling has broad prospects
There are two methods for the secondary utilization of waste power batteries, namely cascade utilization and recycling.
- Echelon utilization
The target market for cascade utilization includes low-speed electric vehicles, energy storage and other fields. When the capacity of the power battery is lower than 80%, its performance can no longer meet the requirements of the normal driving of the car.
At this time, the method of dismantling, screening and reorganizing the waste power battery can be applied to low-speed electric vehicles with low battery capacity requirements. Energy storage and other fields to achieve cascade utilization.
Lithium iron phosphate batteries have long cycle life, high safety and high echelon utilization value. Compared with ternary lithium batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries can still maintain good electrochemical performance after the battery capacity drops below 80%, and the battery capacity will not show a trend of accelerated decay.
At the same time, the lithium iron phosphate battery has good safety performance, high temperature resistance, more in line with the requirements of cascade utilization, and has a high cascade utilization value. On the contrary, ternary lithium batteries are generally not used as the object of echelon utilization due to their short cycle life and poor high temperature resistance.
Recycling can efficiently extract lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and other battery metals to realize resource recycling. When the capacity of the power battery is lower than 20%, its performance and capacity can no longer meet the requirements of commercial applications. At this time, the battery metals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and other battery metals in the waste power battery should be extracted and recycled through the power battery recycling process.
At present, the power battery recycling process in the industry is relatively mature. At present, a number of power battery recycling processes have been formed with pyrometallurgy, hydrometallurgy and biometallurgy as benchmarks.
Among them, the hydrometallurgy process has become a high-recovery process due to its high recovery rate and directional recovery of metals. The mainstream technical route of the industry.
Ternary lithium batteries are rich in valuable metals, and the value of power battery recycling is extremely high. From the perspective of resources, waste ternary lithium batteries are rich in valuable metals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese, and have extremely high recycling value.
On the other hand, although the metal content of lithium iron phosphate batteries is relatively small, but with the sharp rise in the price of lithium battery materials with lithium carbonate as the benchmark, the recycling value of lithium iron phosphate batteries is also increasing. And what are the famous lithium iron phosphate factories? Click our top 10 lithium iron phosphate power battery manufacturers to find the answer.
Battery recycling is the core link of business models
Differences in recycling channels will directly determine the pros and cons of business models. Battery recycling is the core link of power battery recycling. The stability of recycling channels will not only have a significant impact on the recycling cost of power battery recycling companies, but also determine the business volume of the company’s subsequent recycling links.
According to the different recycling subjects, there are currently three mainstream business models in the industry, which are:
- The mode with battery manufacturers as the main recycling body;
- The power battery recycling mode with automobile manufacturers as the main body;
- The third party is the recycling subject.
Recycling with battery manufacturers as the main body
Taking battery manufacturers as the main body of recycling will help to create a closed loop of resources. First, the control of the flow of waste batteries by power battery production enterprises is conducive to the establishment of good cooperative relations between production enterprises.
Second, battery manufacturers can use their own sales channels to achieve efficient recycling of used batteries through reverse logistics. Third, battery manufacturers have control over the flow of new batteries.
Representing the enterprise for the CATL, leveraging on Guangdong Brunp to create an industrial closed loop. Through the acquisition of Guangdong Brunp Cycle, a waste battery recycling enterprise, CATL has entered into the industrial chain of cascade utilization and recycling of power battery products.
It also successfully built an industrial closed loop of “battery production-use-cascade utilization-recycling and resource regeneration”, and furthermore Companies have created space to improve their bargaining power with upstream raw material suppliers and reduce power battery production costs.
Recycling with vehicle manufacturers as the main body
Vehicle manufacturers have the most obvious channel advantages, with low cost and high efficiency for recycling batteries. On the one hand, OEMs have a rich car sales network (4S stores), and can use existing logistics channels to reverse transport used batteries to manufacturers, thereby saving unnecessary costs for additional channels. On the other hand, vehicle manufacturers can also make full use of the extensive sales network to improve the efficiency of recycling.
However, in terms of subsequent reuse, due to the high technical requirements for the cascade utilization and recycling of waste batteries, vehicle manufacturers often need to cooperate with battery manufacturers or third-party companies to complete the secondary use of waste batteries.
Taking the third party as the main body of recycling
Third-party companies have complete technical processes, and the construction of power battery recycling channels is the difficulty of the model. The third-party model specifically means that the manufacturer entrusts a professional third party such as a waste acquisition company and a resource processing company to be responsible for the recycling of used power batteries, thereby realizing the integration and specialization of “battery recycling + subsequent utilization”.
However, this model requires third-party companies to establish recycling channels on their own. Therefore, third-party companies are required to form a stable battery supply source through in-depth cooperation with vehicle manufacturers and battery manufacturers. The model has high recycling costs and difficulty in recycling. problems and difficulties.
High technical requirements for cascade utilization
There are many prerequisites and high technical requirements for the cascade utilization of waste power batteries. The cascade utilization of power lithium batteries is generally divided into four steps: dismantling, residual energy detection, screening and reorganization. Due to the late start of the cascade utilization of power lithium batteries in China, there are currently the following significant problems:
- The safety of cascaded batteries cannot be fully guaranteed.
- The research and development of battery dismantling equipment is less invested, the level of automation is low, and independent research and development capabilities are insufficient. Most companies still rely on labor-based recycling and machinery as a supplement. R & D capabilities.
- There are certain technical bottlenecks in battery detection and screening. Due to the different sources, types and sizes of recycled batteries, the consistency of cascade batteries is insufficient. At the same time, the BMS data of the battery in the one-time use stage is unknown. Therefore, the technology in the detection and screening stage is The requirements and economic costs are relatively high.
The recycling process is mature, and hydrometallurgy is the current mainstream technology route. The regeneration and utilization of power batteries includes three processes: pretreatment, separation and extraction, and product preparation.
Among them, separation and extraction is the core link of technological differentiation of enterprises, which determines the recovery efficiency and regeneration cost of metal resources.
From the comparison of the current technical routes of separation and extraction, hydrometallurgy has high recovery rate of metal elements and high purity of re-prepared products, which has become the mainstream technical route in the industry.
Pyrometallurgy (also called dry process) is generally only used as a supplement to hydrometallurgy due to its high energy consumption and environmental pollution. Biometallurgy is still in the research and development stage, and the technology is not yet mature.
The cost of hydrometallurgy is mainly composed of chemical reagents and energy costs. On the one hand, hydrometallurgy needs to consume a lot of chemical reagents, which makes the cost of hydrometallurgy of enterprises affected by the price fluctuations of chemical reagents such as sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide. On the other hand, hydrometallurgy is a high energy consumption industry, and the energy cost of enterprises is generally high.
Analysis of key power battery recycling factories
The company is the world’s second largest manufacturer of ternary precursor materials, laying out power battery recycling to create a closed-loop value chain. The company takes advantage of the trend to deploy power battery recycling. The power battery recycling business leads the industry and has entered the stage of large-scale commercialization.
The lithium ion battery recycling business has developed rapidly and has now become a core growth point. The lithium battery recycling business has now become the core growth point and main profit point of the company’s business.
The company focuses on the layout of the lithium iron phosphate battery recycling track, and the production capacity is expected to be further released. In terms of production capacity design, the company will build a new lithium iron phosphate recycling and processing capacity in 2022.
The company has rich experience in the recycling and operation of lead-acid batteries, with an annual processing capacity of more than 1.2 million tons of waste batteries, ranking among the top in the world. At present, a complete waste lead-acid battery and lithium battery recycling network has been built.
The company plans to build a 100,000-ton lithium battery recycling plant project. The first phase of the waste lithium-ion battery recycling project with an annual processing capacity of 25,000 tons has been put into trial production in the third quarter of 2021. The closed loop of reused products is initially formed.
Wangneng Environment is the only listed platform under Meizuda Group, a leader in China’s solid waste industry. The company expects to complete more than 70% of its production capacity in 2022, and to reach full production in 2023.
After full production, the purification capacity of nickel, cobalt and manganese will be 3,000 gold tons per year, and the purification capacity of lithium carbonate will be 1,000 tons per year. The company’s raw material sources are mainly 3C batteries, battery scraps and scrapped power batteries.
The company is a leader in the recycling of hazardous wastes in China, and expanding the power battery recycling business will be conducive to the coordination of recycling.
The company focuses on the harmless disposal and recycling of hazardous wastes, and has comprehensive hazardous waste treatment technologies and facilities for the entire industry chain that integrate the front-end and back-end of hazardous wastes.
Leave a Reply