SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will be able to source 20,000 tons of lithium hydroxide from domestically recycled electric vehicle (EV) batteries by 2045 as EV purchases will increase, an outlook that calls for strategic efforts to promote the emerging industry given supply chain instability, a report showed Thursday.
The projection is based on the estimate that the amount of recyclable used EV batteries in the country will reach 416,000 tons a year in 2045, growing from 18,000 tons in 2030, according to a report by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
From the estimated 416,000 tons, recycling companies can extract 20,000 tons of lithium hydroxide, 21,000 tons of manganese sulfate, 22,000 tons of cobalt sulfate and 98,000 tons of nickel sulfate, the report said.
Lithium ion batteries are made with cathodes comprising lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese processed from these minerals.
South Korea heavily depends on foreign sourcing, especially from China, for the supply of critical battery components. Last year, it imported 82 percent of its lithium hydroxide demand from the neighboring country.
Such an amount of lithium hydroxide can be used to make 630,000 EV cells consisting of nickel cobalt and manganese in an 8:1:1 ratio, roughly about twice the country's current domestic production capacity.
The report called for government and industry efforts to further advance the battery recycling technologies on home turf and come up with strategies to help expand the independent domestic supply.
"The effectiveness of raw material procurement from waste battery recycling can vary depending on how well we manage the exports and imports of waste batteries and secure the supply," the KCCI said in the report.
"The waste battery recycling industry is very important not only in terms of economic effects but also in terms of environmental protection, supply chain stability and responding to trade regulations in the U.S. and the European Union."
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