Financial viability of electric vehicle lithium-ion battery recycling

Laura Lander, Tom Cleaver, Mohammad Ali Rajaeifar, Viet Nguyen-Tien, Robert J.R. Elliott, Oliver Heidrich, Emma Kendrick, Jacqueline Sophie Edge, Gregory Offer

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Economically viable electric vehicle lithium-ion battery recycling is increasingly needed; however routes to profitability are still unclear. We present a comprehensive, holistic techno-economic model as a framework to directly compare recycling locations and processes, providing a key tool for recycling cost optimization in an international battery recycling economy. We show that recycling can be economically viable, with cost/profit ranging from (−21.43 - +21.91) $·kWh−1 but strongly depends on transport distances, wages, pack design and recycling method. Comparing commercial battery packs, the Tesla Model S emerges as the most profitable, having low disassembly costs and high revenues for its cobalt. In-country recycling is suggested, to lower emissions and transportation costs and secure the materials supply chain. Our model thus enables identification of strategies for recycling profitability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102787
Number of pages14
Issue number7
Early online date25 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2021


  • electrochemical energy storage
  • energy application
  • energy policy
  • energy resources
  • energy systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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