Electric Vehicle Batteries, Recycling, Lithium Ion Batteries, Li-ion Recycling, Gasoline


With the growing popularity of electric vehicles, the demand for lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries, which are the dominant energy source for electric vehicles, are skyrocketing. By default, this means a growing demand for the raw materials needed to manufacture these complex batteries such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel. Economic, environmental, and political supply chain factors bring into question the sustainability of these batteries as a solution to the issues surrounding gasoline powered transportation, creating a need for large scale Li-ion battery recycling. By 2030, 140 million EVs are predicted to be on the road worldwide. In that time, eleven million metric tons of Li-ion batteries are expected to reach the end of their service lives. With less than five percent of all Li-ion batteries in the European Union and the United States being recycled, there is clearly room for growth. In order to incentivize the move toward greater recycling practices, legislation must be passed to encourage companies to recycle expired EV batteries and work toward innovation in the field. Government policy will aid in avoiding a buildup of used batteries sitting in landfills along with slowing the depletion of rare earth minerals while improving a potentially environmentally friendly industry that saves United States citizens and the United States government money on gasoline.

This article discusses how Li-ion batteries work and the current recycling processes available. Next it will analyze the problems associated with Li-ion batteries and the multiple benefits associated with Li-ion battery recycling. Then addresses the challenges associated with Li-ion battery recycling and the need for research and innovation in the field. Next, it examines the current regulations in place for Li-ion recycling and proposed legislation. Finally, this article outlines the current legislation in the European Union and Japan and proposes a new regulatory scheme for the U.S. that will best achieve the policy goals of environmental protection, economic gain, and supply chain safety.