The battery industry is meeting current raw material demand and preparing well for ramp-up. Recycling will be key longer term.
Between now and 2030 it is expected that the automotive industry will produce over 340 million electric vehicles (EVs) of all types, including hybrids – from two-wheelers and passenger cars to trucks and buses. This will boost demand for battery materials.
Within the cathode materials Umicore manufactures, the main metals are cobalt, lithium, manganese and nickel. Demand for nickel and lithium is expected to rise significantly leading up to 2030, and supplies of these metals will need to scale up. Demand varies largely with the choice of cathode battery chemistry.
Fortunately, scarce materials can be replaced by more abundant ones. Improved battery performance will do more with fewer materials. And recycling will play a big role.
The second-life use of batteries and especially their end-of-life recycling will considerably help reduce the need for critical raw materials and limit the risk of shortages. For example, Umicore technology recycles nickel, lithium and cobalt at a high recovery rate (up to 95%).