The role of the battery in circular economy

We are heading towards a shift in how we do business worldwide, and circular business models are more relevant than ever. The economy is changing, from linear to circular. Businesses are now, more than ever, expected to have a proper End-Of-Life (EOL) treatment procedure. 

Today the EOL-practice of lithium ion-batteries is hardly justifiable. Even though recent research can document that recycled lithium batteries can just as well be used in production of new batteries, the practice is not standardized. Every year the production and demand of lithium batteries increase, which calls for action related to EOL-processes. But what are the barriers?

Kathleen Aviso did a paper documenting the main barriers as well as incentives for circular business models (CBM) for lithium ion-batteries. Based on her results governmental facilitation is the main contributor for implication of CBMs. Furthermore, the main barriers achieving this are financial and technological.  

Even though there are great initiatives, such as Li-Cycle, ECO STOR and Morrow Batteries to increase the lifespan of a battery, there is still a very low percentage of recycled lithium ion-batteries in today’s waste stream. And even though lithium ion-batteries are far more sustainable, compared to other non-renewable sources, large amounts of energy is needed during production. By enabling recycled materials in new production, we can reduce the climate impact during manufacturing. To do so, we need to create better clusters to enable improved cooperations between waste-facilities and manufacturers. With the increased focus on lithium ion-batteries production, we believe that Norway has a unique opportunity to be leading within the manufacturing of circular batteries. By doing so we can truly make a difference within production of renewable energy sources.