SK Innovation announced on Tuesday that it is currently developing the technology to recover lithium hydroxide from the positive electrode of waste batteries from electric vehicles. The positive electrode, or cathode, is a key material of lithium-ion batteries and accounts for more than 30 percent of the material costs of secondary batteries.
The technology to extract core materials from the cathode – nickel, cobalt, and lithium – has become already commercialized, but SK Innovation is the first company to own the technology to recover the high concentration of lithium hydroxide. At the press briefing in May, SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun introduced the “Battery as a Service (BaaS)” strategy to use batteries to create a new service platform. “By recollecting, reusing, and recycling batteries, we can make a positive contribution to the ecosystem,” he said. The company is planning to complete the development process by the end of this year and commercialize the technology next year.
With the new technology, more than 80 percent of electric vehicle batteries will become recyclable. As a result, the share of waste batteries from electric vehicles in the global waste battery market will go up from the current three percent to over 90 percent in the future.
China is the industry leader in waste battery recycling. The Chinese government is known to amend relevant legislation and have the regionally-selected companies engage in research and development activities for waste battery recycling. Currently, three domestic companies – SK Innovation, LG Chemical, and Samsung SDI – are conducting the battery recycling business in cooperation with small and medium-sized companies in the country or overseas.
Dong-Jun Heo [email protected]