New partnership to ensure sustainable recycling of batteries in APAC

As the demand for lithium-ion battery energy storage systems increases, battery recycling provides a sustainable and cost-effective measure to meet the demand. This is the goal of a new partnership formed between energy management firm Eaton and tech lifecycle services company TES.

The partnership will see TES provide its solution for battery recycling whilst Eaton will provide its energy storage customer base. Energy storage customers of Eaton whose batteries are nearing the end of their life span will have them recycled at TES’ recycling facility in Singapore, which was opened in March 2021.

Thomas Holberg, Global Vice President, TES Sustainable Battery Solution, said: “Surging demand for lithium-ion batteries has resulted in the growing twin challenge of raw material commodity shortages in the battery production sector, as well as environmental impact from poor e-waste management. A committed and collective approach is needed for us to make meaningful progress in tackling these complex and multi-dimensional problems.”

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The Singapore-based facility uses a combination of mechanic equipment and hydrometallurgical processes to recover precious metals, such as nickel, lithium, and cobalt. The recovery of precious metals yields a purity level of almost 99%, making them commercially ready for fresh battery production.

The process is claimed to be environmentally friendly, as no secondary contaminants like heavy metals or volatile organic compounds are released into the atmosphere.

The two companies will recycle 5MWh of lithium-ion batteries over the next five years – the equivalent of over one million smartphone batteries.

Jimmy Yam, Electrical Sector Vice President at Eaton East Asia, said the collaboration in the circular economy sector is part of the company’s 2030 sustainability goals, which include reducing environmental footprint and enabling our customers to join.

The demand for lithium-ion batteries will increase ten times by 2030, according to BloombergNEF, as electrification and the transition to renewable energy intensifies. SP Global predicts the production of lithium-ion batteries to more than triple between 2020 and 2025, potentially creating a gap between production and demand. Recycling has the potential to decrease this gap.