As the Electric Vehicle (EV) market grows, batteries become an increasingly critical success factor and will also generate a number of challenges in terms of recycling.
In the short term, electric car batteries are a bottleneck because production capacity of batteries seems to grow slower than EV production plans in Europe. Let aside that large car players are all fighting for the same limited resources.
We should also not forget the bigger picture: these batteries need raw materials (Lithium, Nickel, Cobalt, Manganese, Aluminium, Graphite notably) that are extracted in a limited number of countries, some of them in development and with different level of governance, which raises a number of geopolitical challenges.
From a circular economy standpoint, two questions jump into mind. First, how can we make these batteries more resource-efficient by ensuring that the raw materials used are optimised and that battery lifetime (10 years average) is extended. Secondly, how can we ensure that these batteries will be properly collected, reused and recycled.
One Spanish Startup - BeePlanet Factory - is tackling this issue by giving to electric car batteries a second life in home, industrial or individual energy-storage applications (http://beeplanetfactory.com/en/). They are supported by the EIT InnoEnergy European Innovation Program that became a shareholder: https://eit.europa.eu/news-events/news/batteries-storage. This is a great example of how startups can help bring solutions to new challenges on a broad scale.
Extra early-reader bonus ;-), if you are interested to learn more about battery
technology, check the infographics on the link thereafter: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/evolution-of-battery-technology/