SHANGHAI, May 13 (SMM) -
According to SMM research, the total recycling volume of lithium battery scrap stood at 73,730 mt from January to April 2022 (including battery, pole piece and black mass), of which 27,290 mt of scrap was recycled in January, ranking the highest within the first four months. The amount of recycling in February reduced by 57.2% from January due to the Chinese New Year holiday, while the amount of recycling did not rise to the high level under the impact of low profits of nickel and cobalt products as well as the weak demand.
SMM data shows that from January to April 2022, a total of 49,410 mt of ternary scrap were recycled, as well as 20,010 mt of LFP scrap and 4,310 mt of LCO scrap. Because ternary scrap contains component like nickel, cobalt and lithium, with high recycling value to be extracted into battery raw materials like nickel sulphate, cobalt sulphate and lithium carbonate, ternary scrap accounts for most of the recycling industry.
As the amount of metal contained in different types of used lithium batteries varies, a total of 9,124 mt of nickel, 8,245 mt of cobalt and 3,110 mt of lithium in metal content were recycled from January to April 2022, according to SMM research. According to SMM research, the recovery rate of nickel and cobalt can reach 96% to 98%, and the recovery rate of lithium can reach 85%.
Some nickel cobalt compound can be gained from the recycling of lithium battery scrap, including nickel sulphate, cobalt sulphate and cobalt oxide. Nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate can be used to make ternary precursors while cobalt oxide can be used for ceramic glass production. Due to different process production lines at different recycling companies, various products can be gained from lithium battery recycling, including battery-grade lithium carbonate, industrial-grade lithium carbonate and crude lithium carbonate, which are important raw materials for lithium battery cathode materials and electrolyte. According to SMM data, a total of 9,124 mt of nickel sulphate, 7,814 mt of cobalt sulphate, 430 mt of cobalt oxide in metal content, 6,444 mt of industrial-grade lithium carbonate, 6,615 mt of battery-grade lithium carbonate and 4,775 mt of crude lithium carbonate were recovered from January to April 2022.
SMM expects that the recovery rate in May will be flat from April. As the demand for cobalt salt, ternary and LCO is sluggish, most recycling enterprises remain wait-and-see and the purchasing volume depends on orders. Enterprises will purchase on rigid demand and lower the inventory to avoid risks.