As countries begin to emerge from Covid-19 lockdowns, achieving climate neutrality has become even more of a priority. Several forward-looking nations have introduced green stimulus packages to revive their economies, particularly focusing on the automotive industry’s transition to electric and hybrid vehicles. As a result, demand for batteries continues to grow, underpinned by a buoyant consumer electronics market as well. This highly demanding business (i.e. batteries) requires innovative technology for faster charging, enhanced battery pack design and higher energy density batteries. Chemistry is the key to closing the loop (e.g creating the circular batteries of the future), and we aim to be at the heart of the most innovative circular economy solutions.
Amount of electric or hybrid vehicles in global production by 20301
CAGR growth in batteries between 2018 and 20302
Challenges for customers
- Availability of raw materials such as lithium and rare earths as the need for electric vehicle (EV) battery materials grows dramatically.
- Scaling-up infrastructures, the capacity of the electrical grid and the potential for vehicles to inject into and receive power from the system.
- Recyclability of batteries as conventional recycling processes come with high costs, a high CO2 footprint, and critical metals in spent EV batteries are not always recovered at their maximum value. The lower grade metal mixes are not always suitable for production of new batteries.
Opportunities for Solvay
Solvay’s contribution to the electric vehicle battery value chain is twofold, making our position highly unique:
- Solvay is present in the EV and hybrid battery value chain, providing high-performance materials for lithium-ion batteries, from salts and additives for the electrolyte to specialty polymers for the binders and separators.
- Solvay is the only company to have a chemical refining process that optimizes the extraction and purification of critical metals such as cobalt, nickel and lithium and transforms them into high-purity raw materials for new batteries.
Bonding to build the circular batteries of the future
In 2020, we partnered with Veolia – and Renault joined in early 2021 – to create a circular economy consortium that will enable the production of circular electric vehicle (EV) batteries. The consortium will offer new solutions that will contribute to a cleaner mobility, help fight climate change and bring better resource efficiency. Our unique chemical refining process that extracts and transforms critical materials complements Veolia’s process to unlock the full metal value contained within spent batteries and Renault’s ability to repair first-life batteries to extend their automotive lifespan.
Sources: 1: Roland Berger, 2: World Material Forum, Global Battery Alliance