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United States recycled content standards for lithium-ion batteries

Citation

Dunn, Jessica; Kendall, Alissa; Margarett, Slattery (2022), United States recycled content standards for lithium-ion batteries, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.25338/B8792H

Abstract

Lithium-ion battery recycling can decrease life cycle environmental impacts of electric vehicles (EVs) and assist in securing domestic supply chains. However, the US, the third largest market for EVs, has no policies for recycling of batteries at their end-of-life. The European Union has proposed recycled content standards (RCSs) to help drive a circular battery ecosystem. This analysis calculates feasible RCSs for the US based on future sale projections, techno-economic assessment, life cycle assessment, and material flow analysis. Using a 95% confidence interval, results show that 11–12% of cobalt, 7–8% of lithium, and 10–12% of nickel demand in 2030 and 15–18%, 9–11%, and 15–17%, respectively, in 2035, could be met by retired supply assuming closed-loop recycling. While domestic recycling can be profitable at scale and reduce environmental impacts, it is more expensive than exporting to China for recycling. Consequently, policy is likely needed to ensure critical materials are recycled domestically.

Methods

The data used in this analysis is taken from the 2020 Global Electric Vehicle Outlook from the International Energy Agency, EV Volumes, and Xu et al. (2020). The full citations are in the manuscript. 

Funding

National Center for Sustainable Transportation Technology