Lithium battery recycling initiative

Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI)

Tuesday, 29 November, 2022

Lithium battery recycling initiative

The NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program has boosted funding for research into how NSW can best recycle end-of-life batteries.

Researchers at the University of Sydney and Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) have teamed up to champion the safe and sustainable expansion of NSW’s lithium battery recycling industry.

The project recognises the importance of battery recycling and aligns with the NSW Government’s Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy.

In addition to funding from the ABRI, Battery Pollution and LCC Asia Pacific, the research received $50,000 in funding from the Program.

It is led by Associate Professor Penelope Crossley, in the Law School at University of Sydney, and Katharine Hole, CEO, Australian Battery Recycling Initiative.

Crossley said, “Over 90% of consumer batteries are dumped in landfill in Australia. This hazardous waste needs to be properly handled to avoid serious harm to human health and safety and the environment. With lithium battery waste increasing by 20% annually, the challenge of managing end-of-life batteries will grow significantly over the next decade.

“Previous research shows regulatory failure is a significant barrier to battery recycling and reuse. This research uniquely places us to co-design the development of a regulatory framework for use in Australia. It will also deliver solutions to challenges emerging in international markets.”

Lithium batteries are a type of rechargeable battery mostly used in portable consumer electronics, such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops, Bluetooth headsets and headphones, game controllers, digital cameras, shavers, smart watches and electric toothbrushes or power tools. They are also used in electric vehicles, including scooters, e-bikes and wheelchairs.

ABRI Member and lithium battery recycling technology company Battery Pollution is advancing research and commercial application for large-scale recycling, including the process of taking battery energy storage systems from decommissioning through to recycling. It is contributing substantial expertise and research resources to the project.

The project recognises that a successful and commercial battery recycling industry is essential to the clean energy circular economy and national security. ABRI has seven lithium battery recycler members from fully operational to entrepreneurial startup businesses, and they are spearheading Australian lithium battery recycling industry expansion and innovation.

“The critical outcome is to spearhead the development of solutions to industry challenges being faced locally and overseas. This will underpin Australian leadership in a safe and sustainable lithium battery recycling industry,” Hole said.

Image caption: iStock.com/hroe

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