Battery recycling drawing companies' participation
A group of Chinese companies, including battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd, announced plans to build or expand facilities for battery recycling, as China, the world's largest new energy vehicle market, is ramping up battery recycling capacity for sustainable development.
CATL said on Sunday that it will build a battery material recycling facility in Hubei province with an investment of up to 32 billion yuan ($4.96 billion), with businesses covering EV battery recycling.
Also, Chinese battery material producer Huayou Cobalt signed an agreement with battery manufacturer Farasis Energy last week to tap into various areas, including spent battery recycling.
According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, NEV sales are likely to surpass 2 million units this year, which is a major factor attracting more participation from Chinese companies.
According to Tianyancha, a market information provider, by the end of last month, the total number of Chinese companies engaged in EV battery recycling hit over 27,000. The number of newly-registered companies in the sector surpassed 20,000 last year, accounting for 78.4 percent of the total.
"Eyeing the booming sales of NEVs and the peak of retired batteries afterward, there are more companies making efforts ahead in battery recycling, which will help them reduce costs and strengthen competitiveness over the long term," said Roy Lu Yan, head of industrial research at battery giant Gotion High-Tech.
The amount of the decommissioned power batteries in China reached some 200,000 metric tons by the end of last year, the China Automotive Technology and Research Center said. The life span of power batteries usually runs to about six to eight years.
The CATRC said that 2025 will see a peak period of battery replacement, with 780,000 tons of old power batteries expected to be replaced by then.
As of the end of October, a total of 171 companies had established over 10,000 NEV battery recycling service stations in 31 regions nationwide, You Yong, deputy head of the energy conservation and comprehensive utilization department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a recent news conference.
"A recycling system for NEV batteries has been initially established in the country. The nation will also explore a new business model that integrates the internet with recycling and encourages upstream and downstream enterprises in the industrial chain to jointly build common recycling channels," You said.
The country has launched a series of policies to encourage NEV makers to set up recycling service networks by themselves or through cooperation.
The National Development and Reform Commission launched a plan earlier this year to step up the building of a traceability management system for NEV batteries and also highlighted the role of echelon utilization of power batteries.
The echelon utilization of power batteries is to utilize remaining capacity of power batteries accordingly in other areas－a move to further tap the residual value of the batteries, and protect the environment.
Liu Wenping, an analyst with China Merchants Securities, said that echelon utilization of batteries is an effective way for companies to manage old batteries.
"As most of the power batteries in China are lithium-iron ones and do not contain high-value metals like cobalt and nickel, echelon utilization is a feasible solution," Liu said.
"China's electric vehicle industry has entered a new stage of rapid growth with the battery industry initially taking shape. It is strategically important for the country to have stable battery resources and a sound battery recycle system," said Wang Binggang, honorary consultant of the China Society of Automotive Engineering and an academician of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences.
"Such a move also has significance, as the country is committed to peaking its carbon emissions by 2030 and attaining carbon neutrality by 2060."