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Electric vehicles (EV) have gone from niche market to mainstream transportation. In 2022, sales exceeded 10 million, and 2023 projections are in the 14 million range.1
70% of consumers are considering leasing/buying an EV, or already own one.2
Offerings in the three top EV markets — China, Europe, and the United States — are rapidly expanding beyond cars. Two- and three-wheelers are currently the most electrified market, and some light- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles are now being sold.
Along with greater demand for electric vehicles comes greater demand for EV batteries and the critical minerals that power them — lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, graphite, and copper.
These raw materials are natural resources, and therefore in finite supply. It’s a concern for EV battery suppliers, and it could ultimately put automotive OEMs at a competitive disadvantage.
A 400–600% increase in demand for transition minerals is on the horizon. Lithium and graphite are even more precarious as demand for these two elements may increase by as much as 4,000% over the next several decades.3
Working with an experienced toll processing partner to process high-value minerals into energy-dense EV battery powder is a proven strategy for managing yield, availability, and costs.
In part, EVs owe their popularity to environmental stewardship.
30% of consumers say buying an EV aligns with their desire to live more sustainably.2
Virtually eliminating reliance on fossil fuels and substantially reducing carbon emissions appeal to eco-conscious consumers.
EV battery recyclability is another compelling reason — up to 95% of raw materials are recoverable,4 which bodes well for the environment and for EV manufacturers looking to capture and cost-effectively re-use materials and minerals.
You ask, we answer: Top 7 questions about battery powder production →
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In countries currently supporting lithium-ion EV battery recycling, batteries are shredded and the plastic and metal remains are separated by size and composition. Minerals are then collected using one of two methods:
Using these techniques, it’s estimated that by 2050 nearly 50% of nickel and cobalt, and about 25% of lithium can be recouped and used in EVs in the United States.5
The average lithium-ion EV battery weighs anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 pounds, depending on the type. That’s literally tons of opportunity for sustainability and other initiatives that can be best leveraged by first understanding the components and powder processing behind EV batteries.
The structure of a typical rechargeable lithium-ion EV battery is very simple. There are three main components:
The simplicity of the battery structure can be misleading, and can foster consumer mistrust.
45% of consumers cite battery charge and travel distance as top concerns when considering an EV purchase or lease.2
The reality is that the components have little influence over battery technology. The interactions between the minerals housed within the anode and cathode are what define battery recharging and performance in key areas:
EV battery powder is comprised of six minerals that aid in the transition to clean/renewable energy sources:
These minerals are extracted from the earth, but they cannot be used in electric vehicle battery manufacturing in their natural form. Precise formulations must be created containing uniform mineral particulates to manage mineral behavior and ensure each battery acts exactly as anticipated.
Consistency is the key to powder technology, and a toll processor with battery powder processing experience is a pivotal partner in quality outcomes.
It’s imperative that toll processing partners have a breadth of equipment to handle nearly any process for battery technology, including:
A dry box is a tabletop container with a carefully controlled internal atmosphere that limits moisture and oxygen to less than 1 ppm. This keeps battery minerals from being compromised during handling and testing, and also helps toll processors achieve specific particle characteristics.
In-house dry box capabilities give toll processors decided advantages in:
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1IEA, Executive summary – Global EV Outlook 2023 – Analysis - IEA, Undated
2PDI Technologies, EV Hub: Consumer Trends on EV and E-Mobility, Undated
3WhiteHouse.gov, FACT SHEET: Securing a Made in America Supply Chain for Critical Minerals | The White House, February 22, 2022
4EVBox, Are electric car batteries recyclable? | EVBox, January 20, 2023
5CleanTechnica, Recycling EV Batteries — Jumping In, December 24, 2022