The global demand for Lithium-ion batteries is expected to double by 2025, and quadruple by 2030 to a $24B industry. The North American Market is forecast to account for 35% of the global Li-ion recycling market by 2025.

Industry Outlook

The pace in which lithium-ion batteries will reach end-of-life depends significantly on the application they are used in. To date the largest amounts of batteries that have reached end-of-life are portable batteries used in consumer electronics and power tools. With the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) expected to increase rapidly over the next 10 years, it is estimated that EVs will have a global market share of approximately 20% by 2025. Global EV sales are also expected to reach 30 million by 2030, up from 1.1 million in 2017.

Due to the projected rapid growth in EV sales, together with an increased demand for consumer devices and energy storage battery applications, the demand for Lithium-ion batteries is forecast to double by 2025 and quadruple by 2030. Similarly, the effect of this increased demand on Lithium-ion batteries also means production and the supply of raw battery materials such as lithium, nickel and cobalt must also increase significantly to meet this demand.

According to the most recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Commodity Summary, the United States imported over 90% of its lithium from Argentina and Chile between 2015 to 2019. Six mineral operations in Australia, two brine operations each in Argentina and Chile, and one brine and one mineral operation in China accounted for the majority of world lithium production. Owing to overproduction and decreased prices in 2019, several established lithium operations postponed capacity expansion plans. Junior mining operations in Australia, Canada, and Namibia ceased production altogether. The impact of COVID-19 has slowed production around the world and a supply surplus of lithium currently remains but is expected to be consumed in the short term.

Lithium supply security has become a top priority for technology companies in the United States and Asia. Strategic alliances and joint ventures among technology companies and exploration companies continued to be established to ensure a reliable, diversified supply of lithium for battery suppliers and vehicle manufacturers.

Lithium supply security has become a top priority for technology companies in the United States and Asia.

In addition, cobalt due to its stabilizing role in active battery cathodes is also one of the most common materials found in Lithium-ion battery cathode chemistries. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) supplies 58% of the worlds cobalt, 80% of which goes to China who then subsequently export cobalt to the United States. Mining practices in the DRC are of high concern due to poor health, safety and environmental controls, human rights abuses and political uncertainty. Accordingly, cobalt is therefore considered the highest material supply risk for EVs, both short and medium term. As such, alternative nickel based battery cathodes are being developed to reduce cost and reliance on cobalt.

The North American market is forecast to account for 35% of the global lithium-ion battery recycling market by 2025, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.3%.

The United States Lithium-Ion Battery Cathode Material Market is also forecast to grow to USD 1.5 Billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 5.88%.