South Korean battery giant LG Chem has signed a partnership agreement with Australian firm Envirostream for the expansion of local battery recycling facilities to progress its aim of achieving a “closed-loop” economy for its products.
Through the partnership, LG Chem hopes that Australian-based battery recycling facilities will help to boost Australia’s low rates of recovery of discarded battery materials, as well as eliminating the need for used batteries to be shipped to be shipped overseas for processing.
Processes and facilities established by Envirostream have the ability to recycle up to 95% of the materials within end-of-life batteries, with materials reclaimed by Envirostream and provided to battery manufacturers for re-use in the production of new batteries.
The partnership with Envirostream will also ensure battery recycling happens within Australia, eliminating the need for batteries to be sent overseas for recycling, as is the current practise.
LG Chem is ultimately aiming to create a full-circular economy model for its Australian operations, after making a concerted push into the Australian market. LG Chem has launched a range of residential and commercial solar and battery systems in Australia, a market that is facing competition from giants such as Tesla, and companies with a growing local presence such as Sonnen.
LG Chem secured a deal last year to supply batteries to households as part of AGL’s battery roll out and virtual power plant project, supported by the South Australian Government.
“We’re extremely proud to be able to carve a new path towards preserving our precious planet through this invaluable partnership with Envirostream,” general manager of LG Chem Australia Jamie Allen said.
“Starting with Australia, we hope this provides the opportunity to expand sustainable options for lithium-ion battery disposal.”
It has been estimated that just 3 per cent of the 3,300 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries disposed of in Australia each year are currently recycled. With demand for batteries skyrocketing, the growing waste problem is an ever going concern.
In its ‘Lithium Battery Recycling in Australia’ report, the CSIRO found that the recycling of lithium-ion batteries could provide a mutli-billion dollar industry for Australia, and in fact may be essential for securing a reliable and affordable supply of lithium into the future.
The report suggested that Australia’s current low rates of lithium-ion battery recovery could cost the economy up to $3 billion annually in economic losses.
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