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The global lithium-ion battery recycling market size was USD 1.31 billion in 2019. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with lithium-ion battery recycling witnessing a rising demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market will exhibit a stellar growth of 20.1% in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 1.57 billion in 2020 to USD 11.07 billion in 2027 at a CAGR of 32.2% in the 2020-2027 period. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
A lithium-ion battery (LIB) is a type of electrochemical cell made up of components such as electrodes and catalysts to support power generation for various applications. Materials present in the cathode and anode tubes consist of various precious metals with limited reserves and high resale values. Consequently, the recycling process of li-ion batteries is utilized to extract and market the materials accumulated in the electrode composition to lower the overall project cost and reduce the environmental impact.
Disruptions in Supply and Shipment Channels Caused by COVID-19 Hampered the Global Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Industry
The novel coronavirus or COVID-19 infection has put a significant delay in operations across different industries. The pandemic has plummeted numerous verticals into the girth of declining revenue and demand, affecting the financial health of organizations. Additionally, different administrations have rolled out policies such as national lockdown and social distancing to counter the spread of the viral disease harming industrial procedures.
Furthermore, countries with no required recycling infrastructure tend to supply exhausted batteries to different regions for treatment. Consequently, limitations in cross-border trades to mitigate possibilities of the virus reaching low affected countries is likely to be one of the key reasons adversely impacting the industry supply chain network. For instance, in April 2020, the World Trade Organization (WTO) projected that global trade was likely to observe a decline between 13% to 32% in 2020 owing to uncertainties caused by the pandemic across different regions.
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Stringent Policies to Prohibit the Disposal of Untreated Chemical Waste is a Vital Trend
Accumulators and batteries play a substantial role in providing a reliable power source to safeguard daily operations in a wide range of applications. Various governments and organizations across the globe have introduced stringent norms and standards to treat the materials present in battery chemistry. It is likely to augment the global lithium-ion battery recycling market. For instance, the European Union follows the Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament to mandate the accumulators and batteries along with their waste treatment. The framework also aims at reducing environmental pollution by effectively collecting and recycling waste batteries at high rates.
Growing Efforts to Propel Commercialization of this Technology to Play a Pivotal Role in Shaping the Industry
The industry has observed significant expansion strategies by various public and private players to enhance their recycling capacities to propel the industry landscape. The setup of a new recycling infrastructure is expected to greatly augment the rate of commercialization for various recycling processes. It would generate high technology demand over the upcoming decades. For example, in December 2020, a Canadian lithium-ion battery recycling company called Li-Cycle announced the inauguration of its new recycling plant in Rochester, New York. The new facility is designed to process 10,000 tonnes a year through a two-step procedure of hydrometallurgy and wet chemistry method to retrieve about 95% of materials.
Favorable Government Policies to Boost Adoption of Low-carbon Technologies will Aid Growth
A positive inclination towards the deployment of clean power sources to provide efficient input to different applications is likely to accelerate the global lithium-ion battery recycling market growth. Organizations have significantly shown an increase in favoring the installation of numerous batteries for various large scale energy storage and electric vehicles. The increasing deployment is set to drive the replacement of long-standing batteries with low out efficiencies generating wastes for recycling opportunities. For example, in March 2020, a global energy company Total announced plans to build a large-scale battery-based energy storage project in Dunkirk, France. The new plant is set to install the largest lithium-ion energy storage system in the country with a storage potential of 25-megawatt hours (MWh) along with an output of 25 MW power.
Rising Adoption of Battery Powered Electric Vehicles to Unlock New Potentials for the Industry
Various emerging as well as developed economies have observed a paradigm shift towards a low-carbon generation transportation fleet to reduce the carbon footprint, aiding the industry pace. The adoption of different types of electric vehicles such as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) over the years has resulted in large quantities of batteries reaching their end-of-life. For instance, in December 2020, the government of Japan presented its plans to decarbonize its automobile industry and prohibit the sales of gasoline-only cars by 2030.
High Initial Investment and Lack of Stern Policies in Some Nations May Hinder Growth
The construction of new recycling facilities requires high capital expenditure and dedicated collection and supply chains limiting the market for lithium-ion battery recycling. Additionally, the absence of a proper regulatory framework in various developing nations to extract battery materials, coupled with the increasing recycling of other chemistries such as lead-acid batteries, may pose a problem for the industry growth.
Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO) Segment Projected to Account for the Major Share during the Forecast Period
Based on the chemistry, the industry can be majorly segmented into lithium cobalt oxide (LCO), lithium iron phosphate (LFP), lithium manganese oxide (LMO), lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA), and lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC). The lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) segment is projected to lead the industry in terms of volume, as well as revenue owing to the large installed base of these batteries. Besides, the significant presence of recoverable and expensive cobalt material would propel growth.
Additionally, the lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA) segment is also set to observe a substantial increase owing to the presence of a large number of old electric vehicle batteries reaching near end-of-life periods. Furthermore, the growth of batteries such as lithium manganese oxide (LMO) and lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) is backed by the bulk replacement of various consumer electronic equipment and the availability of different electric vehicle batteries.
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Electric Vehicles Segment to Observe the Highest Growth Between 2020-2027
Based on the source, this market includes electronics, electric vehicles, power tools, and others. The recovery of batteries from electric vehicle sources is projected to observe a significant rise due to the abundant availability of different automobiles such as cars, buses, bikes, and many more. Besides, the electronics segment is also expected to hold a considerable share owing to various factors such as improved profitability in recycling, disassembling of large devices, and long-standing battery installation in products, among others.
Improved Operational Efficiency and Better Metal Recoverability to Propel the Hydrometallurgical Segment
Based on the recycling process, the industry is trifurcated into physical/mechanical, hydrometallurgical, and pyrometallurgical. The hydrometallurgical segment is set to hold a significant position in the global market owing to its environment-friendly operations, less complex procedure, and negligible water and gas emissions. Additionally, the pyrometallurgical segment is also anticipated to observe considerable growth due to its economic extraction processes and the ability to treat a wide range of battery chemistries.
Asia Pacific Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Market Size, 2019 (USD Billion)
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The market has been analyzed across three major regions, including North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. The presence of a large number of recycling companies, availability of different battery manufacturers, large battery installed base, and favorable battery energy storage policies are some of the factors propelling the Asia Pacific market size. For instance, in January 2020, GS Engineering & Construction Corp., a South Korean civil engineering company, announced the construction of a new facility for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries at an investment of around KRW 100 billion or USD 86 million by 2022. The company declared that the new unit with a projected capacity of 4.5-kilo tons is awarded by Pohang City and North Gyeongsang Province administrations to propel the industry outlook.
Additionally, North America's industry size is favored by the significant expansion plans by different players to treat battery systems established over the years. The region is also backed by the encouraging investments and regulatory framework outlook by various administrations and organizations. For example, in January 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) proclaimed its plans to invest about USD 20.5 million in battery recycling infrastructure to set up new research & development (R&D) facilities and attract novel solutions for the recycling process. The government body further aims to boost the national battery capture potential from about 5% to 90% over the years.
Europe's market size is also projected to grow significantly over the forecast timeline. Various companies in the region are actively participating in the industry, equipped with a combination of treatment technologies to treat different battery chemistries. Furthermore, European countries are favored by the large clean energy generation targets introduced by the European Union to curb the overall carbon footprint from various verticals. For instance, in December 2020, the European Commission unveiled its plans to expand the battery recycling and collection targets for industry players. Apex Organization is likely to increase the portable battery collection and recycling objective from 45% to 65% by 2025 to ensure high rates of recovery across the member states.
Umicore is Concentrating on Fortifying its Presence through Organic & Inorganic Expansion Strategies
The global lithium-ion battery recycling market has observed various small and big players participating at various stages of the li-ion battery value chain. These companies are focusing on enhancing their recycling capacities and deploying environmentally friendly processes to improve their positions. Umicore is a Belgium-based energy company offering a wide range of products & services catering to battery & catalysts production, chemical treatments, battery recycling, and many more verticals.
For instance, in December 2019, Umicore announced the acquisition of Freeport Cobalt, a cathode precursor and cobalt refining company, for over USD 200 million. The company is focused on increasing its stronghold in battery recycling, primarily through integrating the supply chain synergies to expand its usage potential for recycled materials.
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The research and business intelligence report offers an in-depth analysis of the market. It further provides details on the adoption of lithium-ion battery recycling across several regions. Information on trends, drivers, opportunities, threats, and restraints of the market can further help stakeholders gain valuable insights. The report offers a detailed competitive landscape by presenting information on key players, along with their strategies, in the market.
Volume (Tonnes) and Value (USD Billion)
Chemistry; Source; Recycling Process; and Geography
By Recycling Process
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 1.31 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 11.07 billion by 2027.
In 2019, the Asia Pacific market value stood at USD 1.15 billion.
Registering a CAGR of 32.2%, the market will show stellar growth over the forecast period (2020-2027).
The electronics source segment is anticipated to dominate this market during the forecast period.
An increasing inclination towards the deployment of battery-powered vehicles and encouraging government stance on adopting low-carbon technologies are the major factors acting as key market drivers.
Umicore, Retriev Technologies Inc., Glencore, Fortum, and SNAM, are some of the key participants in the market.
Asia Pacific dominated the market in terms of share in 2019.
Various countries have introduced their objectives to deploy more electric vehicles to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. The positioning of new EVs on roads will propel the replacement and discarding of age-old batteries installed in prevailing batteries, thereby unlocking new potential for lithium-ion battery recycling.
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