High-value metals recovered from old laptops, drills and electric vehicles can now be used to power the cars of the future. Advances in recycling have made it possible to convert old batteries into new ones, meeting the growing demand for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles.
The metals needed to make batteries are already in short supply, and demand for lithium could increase 20-fold by 2050. Fortunately, recycling is coming to the rescue. New methods have made it easier to recover cobalt, nickel and lithium from used batteries, as well as aluminum, copper and graphite.
China is leading the way in battery recycling, followed by the EU with proposed recycling regulations. North American companies, such as Redwood Materials and Li-Cycle, are also expanding rapidly with significant investments. While recycling alone will not meet the growing demand for batteries, it plays an important role in achieving our climate goals.