Abstract for: Towards a circular economy for lithium-ion batteries: Repurpose or recycle end-of-(first)-life materials?

Large volumes of electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to reach the end of their first life in the process of the mobility transition. At the same time, material shortages are expected in the supply chain of lithium-ion batteries, and battery disposal is associated with environmental risks. Circular economy solutions aim to close the material loop and promise economic opportunities for the high residual values of the end-of-(first)- life batteries. This study focuses on repurposing and recycling pathways for EV batteries. We aim to understand relevant decision factors to transition from the current linear system to a circular economy. A first version of a system dynamics model is presented that captures the interconnection of significant drivers and barriers for establishing circular battery solutions. The model will serve to assess the impact of the newly introduced EU battery directive and test path dominance for repurposing and recycling strategies. Expected results will indicate the effects of the design of the EU battery directive, allowing policy recommendations to balance incentives for promoting recycling while not hampering repurposing opportunities. Further, we expect to find a high relevance of consumer preferences and the need for business model innovation.