This past week in Buffalo, New York, NAATBatt hosted a Workshop on Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling. The purpose of the workshop was to focus industry attention on the next great challenge in vehicle electrification: safely, responsibly and profitably disposing of lithium-ion batteries at the end of their useful lives.
Today lithium-ion batteries reaching the end of their useful lives are not being recycled in any significant quantities in North America. The cost of transporting those used batteries to recycling facilities, and of recycling facilities processing those batteries, exceeds in almost all cases the profit that any recycler can expect to make from processing those batteries.
The economic barrier to lithium-ion battery recycling is destine to become a serious problem when, in a few short years, the batteries in first generation electric vehicles and stationary energy storage project start reaching the end of their useful lives. Consigning those batteries to landfills will be environmentally unacceptable and mandatory recycling programs that several states are already threatening to impose will create a costly surprise for consumers. There must be a better way.
The workshop this week was a first step towards identifying a better way. The workshop saw presentations by the top experts in the field on the subjects of battery collection, sorting and identification, transportation and storage, and recycling technology. Copies of those presentations are now available on line to all registered attendees of the workshop and all NAATBatt members.
Most gratifying for the workshop organizers was that we had low expectations as to how many people would show up in Buffalo to hear about an arcane problem unlikely to become critical for several years. We planned for about 40. 140 showed up. Our apologies to the Buffalo fire department for packing them all in.
If you attended, spoke at or sponsored the workshop, thanks for your participation and support. Photos from the workshop will be available on the NAATBatt website next week.