As the "last mile" of the lithium battery industry, the disassembly and recycling of batteries are a social concern. In recent years, the production and sales of new energy vehicles in China have been booming, and the first batch of batteries has ushered in a "decommissioning tide". How to solve the problem of battery decommissioning, improve the utilization efficiency of circular economy and further practice the concept of green development?
Data shows that in 2020 China's new energy vehicle production and sales completed 1.366 million and 1.367 million units respectively, an increase of 7.5% and 10.9% year-on-year respectively. From January to May 2021, sales of new energy vehicles have reached 950,000 units, with an increase of 2.2 times year-on-year. Correspondingly, the installed capacity of power batteries continues to grow rapidly. In 2020, the cumulative loading capacity of power batteries in China was 63.6GWh. From January to May 2021, the cumulative loading capacity of power batteries in China reached 41.4GWh, a year-on-year increase of 223.9%.
Social development requires green travel and green upgrade. Wei Honglian, Chief Engineer of the Technical Centre for Solid Waste and Chemical Management of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said that it is expected that by 2025, China's decommissoned power lithium batteries will exceed 730,000 tonnes, 70% of which can be reused in stages, with a market size of over 20 billion yuan.
"The rapid development of the new-energy vehicle industry has supported the rapid expansion of the lithium battery recycling market; the development goal of 'peak carbon emission and carbon neutrality' also requires an all-round configuration of energy storage batteries for green power." Some people in the industry said that if it is not dismantled and recycled by technical means, it will not only put pressure on the environment, but also the development of lithium, copper, aluminum, cobalt and other metals in batteries is unsustainable by nature.
However, the recycling of lithium batteries has always been a "pain point" for the industry, with few enterprises meeting the conditions for recycling, and it is difficult for formal enterprises to recycle batteries.
"At present, there are two main forms of lithium battery recycling. One is battery manufacturers, which use recycled metal materials to produce new lithium batteries; The other is a professional battery dismantling enterprise, which supplies valuable materials after dismantling to metallurgical enterprises, battery manufacturers and so on." Guo Qinghua, president of Battery Science & Technology, said that since this year, all kinds of social funds have accelerated the layout of the recycling sector and extended to the upstream and downstream of the industrial chain.
The industry is heating up and companies are accelerating their plan. TianYanCha data show that now there are about 16,000 battery recycling-related enterprises in China. So far, China has added more than 8,600 battery recycling-related enterprises this year, a year-on-year increase of 1,957%. Behind the rapid development of the market, how to consider the core competitiveness of the company?
"On the one hand, it is technology. The threshold of battery disassembly and recycling is high. Whether it is environmentally friendly, safe and efficient is the dimension to be considered. On the other hand, it is operation. Enterprises should have operation mode, capital base and recycling channels, which determines how many out-of-service batteries they can get." Guo Qinghua said that battery recycling has a strong regional nature. The service radius of the disassembly base is generally about 500 kilometers. The industrial development is still in the stage of "making a big cake" rather than "sharing the cake". Upstream and downstream cooperation and sharing, complementary advantages and optimal allocation of resources of the recycling system are needed.
Around the current industrial development of pain points, the above-mentioned people in the industry said that the construction of recycling system is not perfect, and it is difficult for formal enterprises to collect batteries, the recycling cost is high, and some batteries flow into "black workshops". It is recommended that the qualifications and thresholds for battery recycling be further clarified and that the rectification of "black workshops" should be strengthened. (Source: people.com.cn)