There are now over 100,000 electric vehicles (EVs) on Australian roads and although their proliferation is still in its infancy, a government-backed body plans to set up infrastructure to prevent end-of-life batteries ending up in landfill.
Research commissioned by the Battery Stewardship Council (BSC) and conducted by the Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Sydney indicates there will be almost 30,000 tonnes of end-of-life EV batteries by 2030.
This amount of used EV batteries is forecasted to grow to over 360,000 tonnes of used batteries by 2040, and a staggering 1.6 million tonnes by 2050.
The BSC claims it’s essential to start establishing infrastructure to recover “precious resources” from battery packs, and to help prevent major stockpiling and fires in the future.
The BSC has been commissioned by the Federal Government to “drive industry consultation around the development of EV battery stewardship”.
It’s currently calling on the EV industry to contribute to a discussion paper in collaboration with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and the Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA).
The BSC claims to have an “established record on delivering battery stewardship for smaller batteries” and aims to create a solution for EV batteries that will work for the entire supply chain.
“EV batteries present increasing risks and opportunities which the vehicle industry is yet to deal with at scale,” said BSC CEO Libby Chaplin.
“Investment in EV battery stewardship and recycling infrastructure is immediately needed for industry to avoid costly solutions in the future and miss out on the financial opportunities offered by the recycling of used batteries.
“The EV industry is facing a golden opportunity to take the lead in design a scheme that is cost effective, fit for purpose, and avoids the mistakes and costly fall-out of inaction as seen recently by Solar Panel industry by prioritising the discussion of end-of-life processes today.”
There are several companies across the world, including one in Australia, safely recycling batteries of all sizes.
Envirostream, which is claimed to be Australia’s only onshore mixed-battery recycling company, has developed “safe and innovative management solutions for one of the Australian industry’s biggest challenges”.
To read a breakdown on how Envirostream and other companies are recycling lithium-ion batteries, click here.