There are several reasons for this drop in the second use of such batteries. For example, lithium-ion car batteries are now repaired more often, as opposed to being completely replaced. And during these repairs, typically only poorly functioning modules are replaced, and these are often less suitable for reuse. The end result therefore is that the lifespan of the battery pack is extended. Of the total number of batteries collected, there has also been a significant change in the ratio of complete packages to modules. Over three-quarters of the total number of the batteries collected were modules.
Preparing for more
Compared with the total number of batteries in the Dutch vehicle fleet, the tonnage of collected batteries is still relatively low. Evidently, the batteries are lasting longer than was anticipated. In this emerging market, the total tonnage of batteries collected and recycled fluctuates year-on-year. The expectation is that the number of batteries that are collected will increase significantly during the next three to five years, once the initial bulk of EV-batteries from electric vehicles reach the end of their lifespan.
Reusing scare raw materials
ARN facilitates the collection of both lithium-ion starter batteries and EV-batteries and supports car-dismantling companies with their transport and safe dismantling. Batteries that are deemed to be still good enough, can be given a second lease of life by a specialised company. The other batteries are sent to recycling companies, which recover scarce raw materials, such as cobalt and nickel, from them. This makes it possible to recover raw materials from end-of-life batteries so that they can be reused in new batteries. In 2022, 77 per cent of end-of-life EV-batteries were recycled (in 2021 it was 47 per cent), while 23 per cent were given a second lease of life (in 2021 it was 53 per cent). The recycling of car batteries is carried out by specialised companies throughout Europe. Companies in the Netherlands assume responsibility for the second use of car batteries.
There are a number of reasons why the percentage of second use is decreasing. For example, lithium-ion car batteries are more often repaired instead of completely replaced
Car manufacturers and importers are mandatorily obliged to take back end-of-life batteries and in the Netherlands a large number of car importers have delegated this responsibility to ARN (Auto Recycling Netherlands). In the context of its implementation of this producer responsibility, every year ARN reports to the government on the numbers of collected batteries and the realised recycling performance. Last year an overall recycling percentage of 69 per cent was achieved, well above the legal recycling requirement of at least 50 per cent, by weight, of lithium-ion batteries. In 2021 the recycling percentage was 83 per cent. This decrease is attributable to the fact that a smaller proportion of batteries were suitable for almost complete reuse, in the form of a second lease of life.
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