Why Australia Must Recycle Lithium

lithium batteries

The wide use of lithium batteries for operating portable products and devices such as smartphones has made it vital for Australia to recycle lithium and set up a varied market for the same.

According to The Conversation report, it is recommended for the nation to develop convenient recycling systems and create models that could help in the wide production of these batteries and thereby help Aussies to capitalise its lithium market.

The periodic table positions lithium as the third element. Being the lightest metal, it is used for battery applications that require lightweight energy storage. Most of the battery devices like electric vehicles, smartphones, etc. utilise lithium-ion batteries for operation. The Tesla Powerwalls that first launched in Australia also consume energy to operate from these lithium-ions and the increasing demand for the mineral has made it one of the most sought-after metals across the globe.

Hence, Australia’s attempt to recycle the metal might prove helpful for the economic uplift of the nation. According to the latest reports, the global demand for the metal is worth 32,000 tonnes per year and even more. However, the demand for the mineral is expected to rise from 80,000 to 280,000 tonnes by 2030. This specifies how rapid will be the growth of the demand for the lithium batteries with increased use of it in portable devices that are a necessity these days.

Besides being a vital product for a business boost, lithium also accounts for a significant volume of waste after use. This equally requires lithium to be recycled and reused for productive usage to avoid environmental impacts for the great demand.

Although the batteries were invented in the 1960s and were commercialised in 1970s, they gained consumer attention only after 1981. The lithium battery industry saw a golden era from 2008 to 2011 when the US, Asia, and Europe kicked off lithium battery and electric vehicle subsidies and gave a boost to the companies that manufactured them. The global recession, however, took away the gains soon, according to Business Wire.

Research and Markets stated that the latest generation of lithium batteries include very large ones that not only help vehicles and devices operate properly, but also enable them to store significant power for future use. Another category of these batteries includes very small thin-film cells that help in energising micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS).

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