Lithium costs a lot of money to purchase for creating batteries! So, why aren’t we recycling our used batteries?
In our current revolution, we use many kinds of battery-powered things like smartwatches, phones, tablets, computers, etc. These products are everywhere now. But these items all use a very harmful battery: The Lithium-Ion Battery.
Finding the materials needed to make Lithium-Ion Batteries are finite. Sourcing Lithium (chemical needed to make Lithium-Ion Batteries) causes a big environmental, and humanitarian impact. Lithium which mainly makes up Lithium-Ion batteries is incredibly valuable. The cost of buying lithium is 7 times more than the cost of lead.
In 2021, the cost of buying 1 metric ton of lithium was $17,000 dollars. Compare this price to the $2,425 for lead. The global usage of lithium is increasing as we use more devices these days. According to the current statistics, only 1% of people actually recycle their old used Lithium-Ion Batteries compared to the 99% of people who recycle their old used Lead Batteries.
A report just states that more than a dozen companies in North America and Europe now want to start facilities to recycle old used Lithium-Ion Batteries. This is very high compared to the single recycling facility which was from a few years ago. There are 3 processes of how the old used batteries are recycled. Direct, Hydro, and Pyro Process recycling. Hydro uses water to do the lithium battery recycling and Pyro uses a furnace to recycle the batteries.
These processes exclude mining and are linked to the manufacturing processes. So after the recycling has been done, the batteries are manufactured again. There is no need for lithium. This means that we would need less mining for lithium and less demand for it.
This plan would only work if we recycle our old used Lithium Batteries. So please recycle your old used batteries to make our beloved earth a better place to live.
Author: Sri Nihal Tammana
PC: Argonne National Lab
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