Chinas Booming Battery Problem: Recycling Logjam

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China is booming. Firstly it has the second largest economy in the world. Secondly, its population is more than four times that of the United States. The booming electric vehicle market is unsurprising given the growth in technology and wealth,  Remarkably, it registered 352,000 new electric cars in 2016, and this is just the beginning. Because it has extreme air pollution in its cities and the people understand this must change. Now the nation needs answers for Chinas booming  battery recycling problem. Because the bald fact it faces is there is no easy way to recycle lithium batteries from cars.

The Size of China’s Booming Battery Challenge

China saw half a million ‘new energy’ vehicles sold in 2016. This number included pure and hybrid. But. the average lifespan of its mainly lithium-iron phosphate batteries is only around five years. According to the chairperson of the nation’s top battery recycler, some 35 gigawatt-hours of batteries, or 250,000 metric tons will therefore be up for reprocessing in 2020. This is 20 times the 2016 figure and the trend is likely to continue.

Finally, the government is attempting to manage Chinas booming battery problem. Its 2015 electric vehicle battery policy holds car manufacturers responsible. However, in practice they delegate it to their battery suppliers, but this sector is largely scattered and decentralized. Thus the capital and the business will are largely not there.

Lithium Battery Recycling

China is Not Alone in the Lithium Battery Recycling Crisis

Because even the green European Union only managed to recycle 5% of lithium-ion batteries according to Friends of the Earth Europe in 2016. Moreover, they remind us the rest ‘either dump in landfill or incinerate’. We believe it is time to tackle this issue head on.

We are proud to be part the lead-acid battery industry. The Association of Battery Recyclers reports 99% of material in spent lead batteries  recycles. We are left wondering what would happen, if 10% of lithium research-spend diverted to lead battery research instead. Who knows the long-term impact this might have, on Chinas, and the worlds booming lithium battery recycling problem.

Lead-Acid Battery Recycling


Big Push to Recycle Lithium Batteries

Lithium Battery Recycling & Electric Cars

Preview Image: A Factory in China at Yangtze River

Lithium Battery Recycling Share Link:

Lead Acid Battery Recycling Share Link:

Friends of the Earth Europe Report



About Author

I developed an abiding interest in electricity during my fourteen years managing facilities at a nuclear power station. I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally after I fled the corporate world. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. Especially writing on this site, because in my small way I can contribute to a better environment for future generations, moving in technology I never imagined.

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