Repurposed Lithium-ion EV batteries that have been decommissioned from EVs could meet the whole world’s energy storage needs by 2030, according to Greenpeace research.
The campaign group discovered that EV batteries have a value of £11.6bn globally, and as global suppliers of lithium and cobalt shrink, there is an opportunity to reuse the products.
Greenpeace calculated the EV industry mineral supply risks, reuse value, and the carbon offset potential of circular economies for lithium-ion batteries and found 2.85 million tonnes of EV lithium-ion batteries will go offline between 2021 and 2030.
But at the same time, 10.35 million tonnes of lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese will be mined for new batteries with global battery production lithium use almost 30 times higher than in 2018. From 2021 to 2030, battery production will spend 30% of the world’s proven cobalt reserves.
China, Japan, and South Korea manufacture 85% of the world’s EV batteries, relying on raw material imports. 5G infrastructure, data centers, and energy storage will all benefit from repurposed lithium-ion batteries, Greenpeace claimed.
Speaking about the news, Greenpeace East Asia senior program manager Ada Kong said: “We’re about to see a tidal wave of old EV batteries hit China. How the government responds will have huge ramifications for Xi Jinping’s 2060 carbon neutral commitment.
“State policy indicates EVs will play a central role in emissions reduction, and Beijing needs to account for the high emissions of EV manufacturing. What we do with this wave of old batteries is actually a billion dollar, billion-ton-of-carbon dioxide question.
“Repurposing is central to manufacturers’ responsibility to mitigate their carbon emissions. High consumption and throw-away economies caused climate change and resource exploitation. To make EVs a sustainable solution, battery manufacturers and automotive companies have a social responsibility to support circular economies. And governments have a responsibility to mandate recycling and repurposing systems for EV batteries.”