Prospects on end of life electric vehicle batteries through 2050 in Catalonia

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Abstract

As electric mobility gains prominence, the demand for electric vehicle batteries is rapidly rising. Although the amount of these batteries reaching their end of life is presently negligible, studies to quantify their flows and stocks will progressively gain importance as they have a high potential for reuse and contain some economic valuable materials. This study aims at forecasting the number of batteries due to be collected yearly from 2020 to 2050 in Catalonia (Northeast Spain). Product flow analyses are developed considering two different future electric vehicle sales, and two lifespan scenarios for batteries, assuming they follow a Weibull lifetime probability distribution. The volume of batteries reaching their first-use end of life will not reach significance until 2050, however strategies to optimise their use can be placed earlier to get prepared to the coming influxes. If future electric vehicle sales are to meet the Spanish Climate Change Law, influxes of batteries can increase up to 25-fold in 2030 and 72-fold in 2040. Under the extended battery service scenarios, the storage capacity is estimated to be 4 to 5 times larger than in scenarios where batteries are recycled earlier. The potential supply of secondary materials from end of life batteries will increase up to 80% of cobalt, copper and nickel, and 60% of lithium in 2050. The results urge to place proper management strategies for batteries in the coming years to help optimising their use and their potential recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume180
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords

  • Batteries
  • Circular Economy
  • Critical materials
  • Electric vehicle
  • End-of-life management
  • Product flow analysis

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