The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) has been formed by a group of battery manufacturers, recyclers, retailers, government bodies and environment groups to promote the collection, recycling and safe disposal of all batteries.
ABRI’s role includes research, advocacy, education and stakeholder engagement to promote safe and environmentally responsible recycling of all batteries at end of life….More >
There has been a lot of media speculation in recent weeks about future trajectories for energy storage batteries. This followed the launch of Tesla’s lithium-ion Powerwall storage unit on 30 April. Most commentators have predicted that the lower cost will make it accessible to a much larger market, including households with PV solar systems. Macquarie University’s strategic management professor John Mathews argued that it had just made renewable energy ‘the new normal’. Other commentators have been more skeptical, particularly on the total installed costs of the Powerwall system.
One aspect of this debate that doesn’t seem to be in contention is the expected surge in demand for energy storage batteries over the next 10-20 years as technologies improve and costs continue to decline. ABRI is working with a range of stakeholders including the Clean Energy Council (CEC) to ensure that recovery and recycling are built into strategic planning for energy storage batteries. The Council has developed a strategic plan called the Australian Energy Storage Roadmap, which was also released on 30 April. ABRI is pleased to see that product stewardship is being addressed, with the statement that:
Appropriate arrangements for the safe disposal or recycling of end-of-life systems (product stewardship) are a vital part of maintaining community support and industry integrity. Local councils and private waste management processes must be amended to accommodate batteries.
The Roadmap includes a commitment to continue working with ABRI to establish an agreed approach to the safe disposal of used batteries.
The Department of the Environment approved the following export permits for waste batteries in May:
– MRI (Aust) Pty Ltd to export up to 500 tonne of alkaline and manganese batteries from Sydney or Melbourne to ER Co Ltd in Korea
– Halliburton Australia Pty Ltd to export up to 5,000 kilograms of waste lithium metal batteries and 2,000 kilograms of waste lithium metal batteries in equipment from Port Botany to Toxco Waste Management in Canada.
Helen Lewis from ABRI will chair a panel discussion on ‘Responding to the battery recycling challenge’ at the Australian Energy Storage conference and exhibition in Sydney on 4 June. The emergence of new lithium-ion technologies will present challenges for battery recovery and recycling compared to more traditional lead acid batteries.
The first speaker will be John Wood, CEO of Ecoult, on the topic ‘True recyclability in a grid-scale energy storage device’. Ecoult is commercialising the UltraBattery advanced lead acid battery.
This will be followed by an interactive discussion with three other panellists:
– Will LeMessurier, Director, MRI (Aust) Pty Ltd
– Andy Jackson, Partner and Director, Lex Enviro Services
– Dr Sam Behrens, Research Group Leader, CSIRO Energy Flagship.
The two day conference will address how energy storage is re-shaping the energy sector, at the grid and off-grid levels, for transport infrastructure and in residential and commercial buildings. Speakers will provide in-depth industry information and perspectives in at least sixteen conference sessions across two streams. ABRI members can receive a 10% discount on their conference registration fee (contact Helen Lewis for the promo code). The exhibition, which will have close to 30 exhibitors, is free. Register here.
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