Electronic Components Environment

Increase in lithium battery recycling

The Department of Energy (DOE) is making further investments in lithium battery recycling.

In late February the DOE loaned battery recycling company Li-Cycle $375 million to build a plant near Rochester, New York.

This followed several other recycling companies’ announcements about lithium battery recycling facilities, including Ecobat and Redwood Materials.

The latest facility will be Li-Cycle’s fifth in North America.

Significant investment

Many facility announcements have come as production and popularity of EVs grows in the US. Not only in recycling, but also lithium battery production. Earlier this year the DOE announced a $700 million loan for a processing facility at the Rhyolite Ridge lithium deposit in Nevada.

The company in charge of the facility, Ioneer, states there will be enough lithium produced from the site to build 400,000 EVs each year.

The goals

The US is aiming for 500,000 EV chargers and 50% of all new light-duty vehicle sales being electric by 2030. They are further hoping to be a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

Sales of EVs in the US were 630,000 in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency. This would need more than 7,560 tonnes of lithium. To reach the goals stated by the Biden Administration, 90,000 tonnes of lithium would need to be produced. This is 1700% more than the lithium currently mined in the US.

Slow and steady

A lithium mine takes between four and 20 years to begin commercial production. Although there are several projects underway in the country, there’s no telling when these might become steady sources of lithium.

Lithium mining is a concern due to the water consumption and toxic chemicals that can leak into the environment. There are also lithium shortages predicted as soon as 2025. Recycling would make the production of lithium batteries more sustainable and potentially mitigate future shortages.

The cost of recycling these batteries can be high. There are additional risks with lithium batteries, demonstrated by the 245 fires across 4 waste facilities caused in the past. The process is pretty time-consuming too. Consequentially, the price of running safe recycling facilities is quite high.

There is hope, though, that it will be worth it in the future. 


Lantek is a distributor with decades of experience in the electronic components industry. Whether you’re looking for new shortage components or obsolete ones, trust Lantek to provide what you need. Call us today on 1-973-579-8100 or send us an email at

Electronic Components

The importance of batteries to the future of electronics

A brief history

Batteries were first invented long before electricity was even discovered in the 1700s. Around the 1900s the first iterations of what would become modern batteries began to appear. Since then, the tech going into them has improved dramatically, and other battery types are also in development.

Commonly used battery types

Lithium batteries are currently the most widely used type. These are the most common for consumers to purchase, and come in AA, AAA, or 9V sizes. The cheaper alternative in commercial sizes is alkaline batteries. Both types are disposable, but lithium ones last much longer.

Silver oxide batteries usually come in button form, the kind that are used for watches and smaller devices. Silver is an expensive material to use, hence why it’s only used for these smaller-size batteries. For hearing aids, the battery of choice is zinc air. These react with the air, so require a small tab to be removed for them to function.

Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) and Nickel-metal hydride are just a couple of the other battery types available on the market. Another ubiquitous kind of battery is the Lithium-ion (Li-ion). These are in most of your gadgets: phones, laptops, and other portable electronic devices.

Thanks to its low maintenance and high energy density it is usually chosen over other types of batteries like nickel-cadmium.

The rise of EVs and batteries

Li-ion batteries are commonly used in Electronic Vehicles (EVs) too. As the market for EVs increases at an exponential rate, the low maintenance li-ion batteries are a favourite among manufacturers. Companies predict li-ions will be the dominant technology for the foreseeable future, and the price was falling until last year.

NCM, made up of Lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese, and NCA (nickel, cobalt and aluminium) are two current alternatives for Li-ion batteries.

But now, Lithium prices are increasing, and so are the prices of cobalt. Since Li-ion batteries and their alternatives have both elements included, the search is on for a cost-friendly environmentally conscious replacement.

One alternative that seems to be rising to the surface is the sodium-ion battery (Na-ion). As one of the most abundant elements on earth it is significantly cheaper and is easy to extract. Na-ion batteries can also be fully discharged, so there is no risk associated with transporting them.

Return of LFP

But Na-ion is not the only tech on the rise. Some EV companies have started using cobalt-free iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries, and are planning on increasing this amount going forward. The reason behind the usage could be to avoid the use of nickel and cobalt while there are supply issues.

LFP batteries first came about in the mid-90s, however early iterations were difficult to charge and had heat issues. Disposal was also an issue, which meant in the early years these types weren’t frequently used.

Efficiency is a sticking point when compared to li-ion, but they have improved enough for use in shorter-range vehicles.

Battery tech for the future

There are many different types of battery tech currently in development. This may end up being essential thanks to the finite nature of some materials currently used.

Some types also require lithium, like the new generation li-ion and lithium-sulfur batteries. Others, however, do not require lithium. Other varieties like zinc-manganese oxide, organosilicon electrolyte, gold nanowire gel and TankTwo String Cell batteries are also potential future technologies.

The need for high power density and longevity will only increase in the future as EVs become more widespread. Eventually irreplaceable materials could also become scarce. It is predicted that by the end of the decade many more battery plants will open to accommodate this.

Shipping costs are also an issue, so reducing the need for exports, and avoiding reliance on other countries, is imperative.


This blog is purely informational and is in no way intended to advise on battery types.