China Establishes Initial Power Battery Recycling System

At the 2022 World EV & ES Battery Conference held on the morning of July 21, Zhang Yunming, Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said in his speech that China has initially established a recycling system for power batteries. “At present, China has built more than 10,000 recycling service outlets in prefecture-level administrative districts.”

Zhang Yunming said, China will further improve the recycling system, speed up the formulation of recycling management measures, and strengthen the cooperation between central and local governments. It aims to form a coordinated supervision mechanism, standardize the system of power battery recycling, and support the research and implementation of technologies such as intelligent dismantling and material recycling through a number of enterprises related to cascade utilization and the recycling of traction batteries.

At the conference, Robin Zeng, chairman of battery giant CATL, pointed out that the price speculation of raw materials brought short-term troubles to the power battery industry chain. The prices of materials such as lithium carbonate, lithium hexafluorophosphate, electrolyte raw materials and petroleum coke of negative electrodes have soared. Robin Zeng said that, in fact, mineral resources are not the bottleneck of industrial development. At present, the proven lithium resources reserves can produce 160 TWh lithium batteries, and there will be more lithium resources as they continue to be proved.

Robin Zeng mentioned that CATL’s utilization of superior mineral resources was improved through a series of technologies, and most materials in batteries could be recycled. The recovery rate of nickel and cobalt has now reached 99% while the recovery rate of lithium is over 90%. CATL is estimated that the recovered materials of retired batteries can meet most market demands by 2035.

According to the China Automotive Technology and Research Center, the market scale of waste power battery recycling in China will further increase to about 15 billion yuan ($2.22 billion) in 2021, and will exceed 40 billion yuan by 2025.