Sustainable Battery Recycling with Rho Motion’s Mina Ha

Mina Ha, Battery Recycling Research Lead at Rho Motion, explores the future of EV battery recycling & building sustainable battery supply chains

Mina Ha is the Battery Recycling Research Lead at Rho Motion, where she oversees battery recycling research, covering the Battery Recycling Quarterly Outlook and monthly Battery Recycling Capacity Database. Mina also supports consultancy projects related to battery recycling. Her professional journey has been deeply rooted in market analysis, spanning from Malaysia to South Korea and now the UK, which she credits as having been a valuable experience in navigating cultural and business differences. 

“In the last year, battery recycling capacity grew by 40% taking us up to 2.1m tonnes per year,” says Mina. “We expect that growth to be even greater this year, assuming no project delays or cancellations.”

Here, she tells us more. 

Tell us about your role as a battery recycling expert. 

“Essentially my job is to know everything there is to know about battery recycling, make accurate forecasts and deliver those to the market. This means I lead the lithium-ion battery recycling market study, I speak with key industry players every day and deliver speeches at relevant conferences. We are here to help stakeholders make informed commercial decisions about their investments.”

What is Rho Motion? 

“Based in London, Rho Motion specialises in providing market analysis and forecasts and consultancy services for the energy transition covering EV and battery, EV charging and infrastructure, EV motors and systems, energy stationary storage and battery recycling. We offer deep insights, through unique datasets and developed industry connections across the battery industry, across the globe.” 

What markets are expected to take the lead? 

“China is storming ahead in terms of battery recycling capacity with its feedstock available in the country. China accounted for over 50% of the global black mass in 2023, which was the largest compared to other regions, mainly driven by production scrap available in the country. We’re anticipating a similar level of share this year. China will continue to be the primary contributor to the increase in global black mass available, but the material can only be used domestically.

“Looking at battery recycling pre-treatment capacity, which converts end-of-life batteries and battery production scrap into intermediate products such as black mass, China currently accounts for over three-quarters of the global capacity. It is expected to maintain this share going forward with second place accounting for around 10% of the market share. However, across main regions, particularly in China, there are concerns of overcapacity given the limited feedstock currently available, resulting in plants being hugely under used.”

Last year, we spoke about America's impending victory in EV affordability. Now, is China going to be able to reign in the wild west market and grow sustainably? 

“As previously mentioned, China’s battery recycling market growth has been astounding but the focus now needs to be on regulating it. In an effort to start this, the Chinese Government introduced a ‘Whitelist’ in 2019/2020. However, there are many Chinese players that are currently operating completely off the radar which obviously makes them tricky to track. So in terms of building sustainable battery recycling supply chains, I would say the government has its work cut out for it.”

Which countries need to wake up and smell the black matter? 

“Each country or region faces its own challenges. When we look at regions like China, Europe and the US, competition for securing scrap to recycle is expected to heat up due to capacity expansion.   

“Some countries such as Japan are slower in building black mass refining capabilities mainly due to factors like insufficient feedstock, and technology development. Considering end-of-life EVs are expected to come off the roads in the early 2030s in Japan, they will need to build up the domestic black mass refining capabilities if they are to maintain a sustainable life-cycle.” 

Do any partnerships stand out to you at the moment? 

“In 2023, we saw an increasing number of Asian companies, particularly those from South Korea and China, such as CATL, CNGR Advanced Material, SungEel HiTech and more, seeking opportunities for cross-border expansion in Europe.  

“When it comes to entering new markets, each company has its own strategy. However, a common approach observed in battery recycling is forming partnerships or joint ventures with local companies to secure recycling scrap and plant permits. These two are among the main challenges alongside complying with environmental requirements.”   

What do the next 12 months hold for you and the company? 

“Opportunities for further capacity growth in battery recycling are often discussed. However, as we look ahead into 2024, we need to be looking at how challenges, including technology advancements, will shape the next stage of the recycling market even as expansions continue across borders. This will involve addressing various factors such as supply chains, regulation, competitive landscape, LFP recycling, and more. 

“What we're excited to see is how the market goes from growing capacity to making this a sustainable life-cycle business.”


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