Global Black Mass Recycling Market 2021
The global black mass recycling market is expected to reach $52,991 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 21.45% during the forecast period from 2022 to 2031. This market deals with the reprocessing and recovery of essential metals from discharged lithium-ion batteries. The increasing popularity of electric vehicles is driving the demand for these batteries, thus fueling the growth of the black mass recycling market. Key players in this market include Umicore, BASF SE, Tenova S.p.A., and others, but there will be increasing competition and innovation as new competitors enter the market.
Countries worldwide are striving to reach net zero emissions by implementing low-emission and energy-efficient strategies, including electrifying the transportation industry and increasing the use of renewable energy. The black mass is a mixture of elements obtained during the battery recycling or recovery process and may contain pollutants. Battery recycling is crucial for maximizing resource utilization and reducing the risk of material shortages.
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USD 8.6 billion in 2020
Battery Source, Technology, Recovered Metal, Application, Region
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The sales of electric vehicles have significantly increased, leading to a greater need for battery and black mass recycling. However, prices of black mass recycling have risen due to the growing demand for costly battery metals such as copper, steel, lithium, nickel, and cobalt. Challenges such as a lack of trained workers, supply chain issues, inflation, and market instability hinder the expansion of the black mass recycling market.
Black mass recycling has a significant impact on the environment and the economy. It provides environmental benefits and can increase efficiency, lower costs, and provide a reliable source of important metals for end-use sectors.
Circular economic principles and advancements in recycling technologies are driving the demand for lithium-ion batteries, especially in the automotive and energy sectors in regions like China, Asia-Pacific, Japan, and Europe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had both positive and negative effects on the black mass recycling industry. It disrupted the global distribution network, impacting the availability of old lithium-ion batteries for recycling. However, it also increased the use of electric vehicles, creating a greater need for essential metals and opening up new markets for black mass recycling.
Drivers for the global black mass recycling market include the exponential increase in electric vehicles, consumer awareness, rising metal prices, and government initiatives with technological advancements. Challenges include the wide range of battery chemistries and the fluctuating prices of battery raw materials like lithium and cobalt.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including battery source, technology, recovered metal, application, and region.
Segmentation by Battery Source
Segmentation by Technology
Segmentation by Recovered Metal
Segmentation by Application
Aerospace and Défense
Segmentation by Region
North America – U.S., Canada
Europe – Germany, France, Italy, Poland, and Rest-of-Europe
Asia-Pacific and Japan – Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, and Rest-of-Asia-Pacific and Japan
Rest-of-the-World – Middle East and Africa and South America
In 2021, the automotive segment dominated the black mass recycling market, primarily due to the increased sales of electric vehicles worldwide. The usage of lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles is driven by favorable legal provisions and the need to address ecological sustainability and clean energy balance. Representatives from various countries are collaborating with automakers to tackle these issues. Within the automotive sector, black mass recycling is mainly focused on batteries used in electric vehicles, which have become the largest end-use application. Lithium-ion batteries are widely utilized in electric vehicles, conventional automobiles, electric buses, and electric trucks. In terms of popularity, lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries are the two most commonly used battery types in the automotive industry. The demand for sustainable EV battery waste recycling and disposal is expected to increase as the emphasis on electric vehicles continues to grow. Governments are developing strategies to regulate the battery recycling industry well in advance to ensure proper recycling when electric vehicle batteries reach the end of their lifespan.
In terms of battery source, the industrial batteries segment held the majority share in the black mass recycling market in 2021. The production of lithium-ion batteries for energy storage is rapidly evolving, making it crucial to highlight the financial, environmental, and strategic advantages of recycling used batteries and establishing a circular economy. Industrial batteries play a significant role in phasing out gas-powered industrial batteries that release carbon dioxide and other carbon pollutants. They are also well-suited for power storage for the electric grid. Industrial batteries encompass batteries used in energy grids, power grids, battery storage, and other applications. Various battery cell chemistries, including lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries, and nickel-cadmium batteries, are involved in industrial batteries. As the demand for energy storage batteries increases, the proper disposal of these batteries at the end of their lifespan becomes increasingly important. Currently, lead-acid batteries have a high recycling rate of 96-98%. Nickel-cadmium batteries, which are still in use, have similarly hazardous chemical components but also boast a high recycling rate. Additionally, lithium-ion batteries are experiencing significant growth in the energy storage sector. However, they are classified as hazardous goods and can be harmful if improperly disposed of.
In terms of recycling technology, the hydrometallurgy technology segment held the majority share in the black mass recycling market in 2021. Hydrometallurgy is considered a more environmentally friendly alternative to pyrometallurgy. It has proven effective in metal separation and recovery from various waste sources. Hydrometallurgy is particularly suitable for recovering metals and eliminating potentially harmful heavy metals found in industrial sludge. The process involves extracting metals from ore by dissolving and dispersing them as salts in water-based stages such as leaching, purification, and selective precipitation or electroplating to recover the desired metal. This approach is crucial for extracting essential and rare metals. The initial stages of battery recycling include discharging, filtering, physical separation, and mechanical treatment, such as shredding, to produce a black mass.
In terms of the recovered metal segment, nickel metal held the majority share in the black mass recycling market in 2021. Nickel has long been used in batteries, particularly in nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride rechargeable batteries. The advantage of using nickel in batteries is its ability to provide increased energy density and storage capacity at a lower cost. As battery technology advances further, nickel-based batteries are expected to play a larger role in energy storage systems, contributing to the reduction of battery storage costs per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Moreover, these advancements make renewable energy generation from sources like wind and solar more viable, replacing fossil fuels.
China currently dominates the global black mass recycling market due to its significant electric vehicle industry, top suppliers throughout the supply chain, and rapidly growing economy. Additionally, China possesses the majority of the world’s lithium-ion reserves, which can be utilized in various sectors such as automobiles and consumer electronics. Chinese companies are investing billions of dollars in factories to meet the expanding demand for electric vehicles (EVs). This has also attracted substantial investments from overseas corporations, like Lithium Works, a Dutch company that has financed $1.85 billion in Chinese battery manufacturing.
The selection of the profiled companies was based on inputs obtained from primary experts, as well as an analysis of their market coverage, product portfolio, and market penetration.
Key companies profiled in this report include BASF SE, Umicore, Tenova S.p.A., Li-Cycle Corp., Lithion Recycling, AKKUSER, Duesenfeld, ELECTRA, ROYALBEES, RUBAMIN, Aqua Metals Inc., HYDROVOLT AS, SungEel Hi-Tech. Co., Ltd., ECOGRAF, Fortum, Redux GmbH, Green Li-ion Pte Ltd., TATA Chemicals Ltd., ATTERO, Exigo Recycling Pvt. Ltd.
Recent Industry Developments
In February 2023, Umicore successfully commenced the industrialization of manganese-rich battery material technology for electric vehicles. This significant milestone expands Umicore’s already diverse range of NMC (nickel, manganese, cobalt) battery materials, enabling exceptional productivity and longer-range electric vehicles. This breakthrough technology introduces a highly competitive alternative to existing design-to-cost battery technologies for electric vehicles.
In September 2022, General Motors Co. and Lithion Recycling strategically invested in Lithion Recycling’s Series A fundraising round. This investment was made in support of a new strategic collaboration agreement between the two companies, with the aim of establishing a circular battery ecosystem. The collaboration will utilize Lithion Recycling’s cutting-edge battery recycling technology, which is at the forefront of innovation in the field.
Key Questions Answered
What are the primary factors and trends influencing the black mass recycling market?
How has the global black mass recycling market been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? What are the major disruptions in the supply chain?
What measures have existing market players taken to enhance or maintain their market position, and what strategies are adopted by new entrants?
Which technology and application segment leads the market, and how is its performance expected during the forecast period?
What are the recent developments in various countries worldwide concerning the growth of the black mass recycling market?
Given the importance of batteries in technology and sustainable energy, understanding the stages of black mass recycling becomes crucial. What are these critical stages?
How has the Russia-Ukraine war impacted the black mass recycling market, and what significant disruptions have occurred in the supply chain?