SHANGHAI, July 21 (SMM) - With the rapid development of new energy in China, the installed capacity of lithium batteries is soaring accordingly. The service life of a motive power lithium battery ranges from 4-6 years. However, the supply chain of the raw materials for electric vehicle batteries is suffering an aggravating global shortage and rising costs. The development of new energy industry is in need of a stable and reliable supply chain of battery resources. As the first generation of motive power lithium batteries become obsolete, the new energy industry is faced with the problem of lithium battery recycling, which can not only bring considerable economic benefits, but also contributes to environmental protection. Therefore, the recycling process of waste lithium battery should be carefully designed, taking into account yields, economic benefits, emission and pollution.
At present, there are many techniques to process lithium batteries such as biological, chemical and physical techniques. A biological one involves using microorganisms to metabolize lithium battery materials, but this technology is not mature enough. Therefore, chemical and physical techniques are more widely applied. Currently, the major domestic recycling technique is mechanical crushing and sorting, the core of which is basically physical dismantling. In the sorting process, environmentally-friendly pulsed dust removal equipment is used to recover and separate the black mass in the battery. The recycling equipment is mainly composed of a physical crushing and dismantling system, an airflow sorting system, a dust collection system, and an air purification system. After the waste lithium batteries of new energy vehicles are discharged, they will be loaded and conveyed to another equipment for dismantling and crushing. The conveying equipment is fully sealed and there is a negative pressure suction at the upper end to prevent the smell of dismantled batteries from dissipating. Next, the materials are conveyed to the fine crusher for further processing. Then the materials are conveyed to the sifter under negative pressure from wind power to collect powder and separate sheets. After that, the materials will be conveyed to the air separator for air separation processing. The copper and aluminium in the remaining materials will be collected in a centralized manner. During the sorting, the recovery rate of seperator is above 95%, that of copper and aluminium stainless steel is more than 99%, and that of positive and negative sheets is above 98%. The separation rates of copper, aluminium as well as positive and negative powder are more than 98% after high-speed friction. In this way of recycling, the waste lithium batteries are transformed into new resources again.
Nowadays, the recycling of waste lithium batteries has become a trending topic in the new energy industry. Since China has few nickel, cobalt, and lithium metal resources, the recycling of waste lithium batteries can help shape a closed-loop industry chain in the new energy industry, which will reduce China’s dependence on overseas imports. Moreover, a series of policies governing the motive power battery recycling have been introduced in the past two years to regulate the industry. As the industry standards improve, the new energy industry and market will enjoy sound development. SMM predicts that the market value of the battery recycling market will amount to 105.6 billion yuan in 2030, with power batteries taking up more than 80% of the total share. The circular economy of motive power batteries is ushering in a new era.