New report on recycling and second life of lithium-ion batteries

Today we finally publish our new report on the lithium-ion battery end-of-life market. It’s an extensive update of our last report with a huge amount of data added. Like volumes of recycled materials over the world from today to 2025, information about pricing and cost structure in the end-of-life chain and detailed lists of over 80 companies in the recycling and second life space around the world.

The aim has been both to create a tool for everyone dealing with end-of-life of lithium-ion batteries and the ultimate source of information about the market for anyone who needs to understands its dynamics.

In both cases there are huge amount of money to either be saved or made only with a bit deeper understanding and access to data.

The markets for recycling and second life are both local and global in nature. Soaring raw material prices, exponential growth for batteries and its applications and constantly changing technologies might not always directly translate to immediate changes for OEM’s, battery users or waste collectors. But under the surface the market is undergoing a revolution.

Only to give a few examples:

  • The last 12 months the cobalt price has increased with more than 40 per cent after having soared more than 110 per cent the year before. The lithium price has had a similar development.
  • The same 12 months not less than 10 battery material in companies in China established recycling operations. They recycle cobalt, nickel and lithium and use it in their own production of precursors and cathode materials. Their capacity is far bigger than the amount of batteries that currently becomes available for recycling.
  • In Europe two new recyclers have opened up shop this year. This while several Asian recyclers have heavily increased their presence in Europe and in North America. Paying significantly higher prices than their Western peers.
  • Still the volumes of batteries in Europe and North America remain low as most of the batteries either are used in second life applications or sold to refurbishers in Asia.
  • While many car and pack makers still “will look at” the second life potential there are some companies that already have established themselves as important players in the energy storage market. And continue to emphasize their positions year after year.
  • And, while new government- and EU-funded projects aim to promote design for recycling and reuse battery packs with smart battery management systems designed for multiple purposes over their lifetime are already finding its way into European vehicles. Designed and manufactured in China.

Circular Energy Storage was the first consultancy in the world to publish forecasts on the lithium-ion battery end-of-life volumes. We have built our data bottom-up by basically tracking every single EV model and its batteries, visiting and discussing with collectors, refurbishers and automotive companies. We have dug deep into piles and pallets of batteries to understand what actually reaches end-of-life. All this has been matched with data from world class institutes and consultancies in energy storage and the lithium-ion battery supply chain.

It has brought us to very different conclusions than other researchers. So when it’s not rare to read about recycling rates of 3 or 5 per cent we claim that 58 per cent will be recycled this year.

If you want to know more, are interested to purchase our report or think we can help in any other way, please feel free to contact me here at Linkedin or email me at:


Hans Eric Melin