Battery prices lead to mainstream recycling industry?
With the number of new energy vehicles in China exceeding the 10 million mark, China has also become the world's most potential new energy vehicle market, which has also spawned a series of "sidelines" in this field, among which " power batteries " are One of the hottest.
For new energy vehicles, the power battery is as important as the human heart, and its price accounts for almost half of the cost of the whole vehicle. Even Zeng Qinghong, chairman of GAC, participated in the 2022 World Power Battery Conference some time ago. In an interview , humorously said that "GAC is working for the Ningde era ". This ridicule fully reflects the current domestic power battery industry's current situation of "in short supply and soaring prices".
With the surge in demand for new energy vehicles, the prices of materials such as lithium carbonate and nickel needed to make power batteries have doubled. Taking lithium carbonate as an example, its spot price per ton has reached about 500,000 yuan, an increase of 900% over last year, which is very exaggerated. The reason for this phenomenon is nothing more than that after the outbreak of the epidemic in 2020, many upstream mining companies closed their doors, and last year's new energy vehicle sales surged, resulting in a serious shortage of production capacity.
Although Zeng Yuqun, the head of CATL, once optimistically stated that China's proven lithium resources are about 160TWh, and its volume is large enough to meet the development needs of electric vehicles in the next five years , the problem with this view is that domestic Lithium ore resources, although large in volume, are not only used for automobiles, but also have huge demand in other industrial industries. Secondly, the issue of "environmental protection and sustainability" has not been considered. After all, the original intention of our implementation of new energy is to protect the environment.
In fact, no matter what advanced mining method is adopted, the mining process will inevitably have a negative impact on the water, soil, animals and plants of the local environment, and the most scientific and environmentally friendly way of obtaining raw materials should also be combined to prevent waste power batteries' materials for recycling.
On the one hand, this can reduce the pressure of "new material mining" and play a role in protecting the environment. Under normal circumstances, it can also reduce the cost of purchasing raw materials for battery manufacturers. On the other hand, the proper disposal of waste batteries can also It avoids secondary pollution and conforms to the "full life cycle" management of automobiles advocated under the new four modernization reforms.
Simply put, the life cycle of power batteries includes manufacturing, use, scrapping, decomposition, and utilization. The utilization is divided into two parts: cascade utilization and recycling. When the car battery reaches the "renew" stipulated by the manufacturer After the standard, it will be removed, but it will not be scrapped immediately, because although its battery performance is reduced, it can still meet the use of some scenarios, so it may be simply processed and used in other places until it completely fails. This is the cascade utilization. When the battery fails completely, it is dismantled to extract the rare metals inside, which is called recycling.
Although recycling is good, it is not that simple in practice.
Because the power battery recycling industry in my country started late and the technology is not yet mature, many recycling companies often take "destructive" dismantling methods to obtain the raw materials inside the battery when facing the power battery with complex structure. As a result, the recycling rate of power batteries is low, and there is a safety risk of battery explosion.
And those battery residues that cannot be recycled, if not handled properly, are prone to the leakage of toxic metal substances and pollute the environment. Therefore, this also leads to the high cost of recycling, and battery recycling is more like a thankless business.
What is even more interesting is that, in the case of insufficient mining capacity, in order to ensure the supply, battery manufacturers have chosen used materials with faster delivery to solve the urgent situation and the supply is in short supply, which has led to the sharp increase in the price of used materials. further disorder .
Although some experts are optimistic about the prospects of the battery recycling industry, saying that it is a blue ocean market full of opportunities, but from the perspective of Xiaozhi, this statement is still open to question.
The automobile industry is a highly capitalized market. Without "profitable interests", it is naturally difficult to attract funds into the "battery industry". Only policy support and guidance is far from enough. Enterprises want to make money by "battery recycling". It is necessary to invest real money to study technology, and it also needs an industry environment with perfect regulations. These cannot be solved in the short term. After all, the problems facing the new energy vehicle industry now are not only the "battery crisis".
What's more, whether the future of "new energy" is to follow the fuel cell line represented by " hydrogen energy " or the idea of pure electricity is still inconclusive. What about the industry?