S. Korean resources circulation firm constructs battery recycling plant

By Park Sae-jin Posted : April 9, 2024, 15:56 Updated : April 9, 2024, 22:25
Getty Images Bank
[Getty Images Bank]

SEOUL, April 09 (AJU PRESS) - DS Dansuk, a South Korean firm specializing in resources circulation, has completed the construction of a lithium-ion battery recycling plant in the southwestern port city of Gunsan. The plant will produce "black mass," a mixture of different materials recovered from spent batteries.

According to market research firm BIS Research, the global market for high-performance lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries is accelerating at an average annual growth rate of about 21 percent, projected to reach $23.9 billion by 2033. This growth is expected to continue as batteries used in first-generation electric vehicles, released over a decade ago, begin to degrade after their intended lifespan of approximately eight years.

Black mass is a mixture of different materials recovered from used Li-ion batteries. It contains valuable materials like lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite, along with other components such as electrolytes and plastics. Black mass requires a series of processing and refining steps to extract and separate materials for reuse in the production of new batteries.

DS Dansuk announced that the construction of the Gunsan plant was completed on Tuesday. A total of eight billion won ($5.9 million) was invested in the plant, which will employ 40 new workers and have an annual black mass retrieval capacity of about 5,000 tons. The company promised further investment in the recycling plant to meet the growing supply of spent Li-ion batteries.

Although the recycling rate for high-performance Li-ion batteries is about 95 percent, only about five percent of EV batteries are recycled into black mass. This is because many discarded EV batteries are reused in energy storage systems, primarily utilized for collecting electricity generated by renewable energy sources such as wind farms, solar panels, and micro-hydro power plants. 
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