The number of EVs on the road has increased by five times since 2010, with over one million battery powered cars already on the road worldwide. This rapid shift to EVs will require new ways of thinking about everything from how we build infrastructure to what we do with all those old batteries when they’re no longer usable. Luckily, many companies specialize in EV battery recycling and in this article we will discuss how it works.

EV batteries are usually made of lithium-ion cells composed of a cathode, an anode, and an electrolyte.  Cells are arranged and attached within series or adjacent to form modules, which are then combined to form a battery set — generally have hundreds or even thousands of cells.

Currently in the market EV battery packs are expected to last at least ten years, although, when they are no longer usable for running a car they could be used somewhere else.   EV batteries are expected to retain an estimated 70% of their potential at that time, so recycling them will bring extra benefits.

How do EV batteries get recycled?

When a battery is assigned for recycling, it will go through many procedures, including battery passivation, cell demolishing (material isolation), and cell shredding and breaching.  Batteries lose efficiency primarily as a result of charge/discharge periods, which result in solid accumulations in the cells.  These unstable parts rot away at temperatures above 195 °F (90 °C), releasing flammable byproducts and oxygen.  These elements form a thin film on the surface of the anode (graphite), which limits redox reactions and increases internal battery resistance.

An observable change on the surface of battery will occur when the cell is exposed to the load.  The high resistance of the film causes a sudden power loss and it is slowly removed by the battery discharge process, lowering internal resistance.  If the load stays constant, the voltage recovers to its relatively stable value and when the external load is increased, the voltage drops again, and the cycle is continued till the layer on graphite is fully separated.  The battery elements are pulverized with a shredder after they have been dismantled.  The material is immersed in caustic water (sodium hydroxide, NaOH), which neutralizes the electrolytes and allows metals to be recovered.

What are the uses of used EV batteries?

The rules for expired EV batteries differ among nations.  In China, EV manufacturers are now compelled to prevent old batteries from going to landfills.  Similar guidelines have been suggested in Europe, and it is predicted that the United States will do the same.

The economic possibility for battery reuse, also known as “2nd life,” may contribute to further lowering the initial costs of EV batteries and raising the importance of a used EV.  Second-hand batteries can represent inexpensive market storage for utilities and electricity users given the expanding EV market.

When EV battery runs out of power for a vehicle, it can still be used to run a school or a residence by introducing to a battery storage system which stores battery power so it can be used later.  Depending on its size and the devices people use, a typical home in the United States consumes about 30 kilowatt-hours a day.  Thus, a typical EV battery has the capacity to store enough electric power to meet the entire energy requirements of a typical home for a few days.

7 EV Battery Recycling Companies

Several companies specialize in EV battery recycling but the majority of them focus on recycling an EV’s lead acid batteries. Some companies recycle all types of lead acid batteries, while others specialize in a specific type of battery. The top 7 companies working on EV battery recycling are:

1. Ascend Elements

Rather than recycling entire materials, Ascend Elements works on the process to collect battery metals and deign them into battery pack equipment.  Ascend then market those materials to manufacturers.

The company’s technology employs a hydro system of recycling and direct recycling to reduce old cathode components to the atomic scale to introduce better cathode materials, allowing clients to maximize asset return and commercially drive reusing and low-cost battery equipment.

(Ascend Elements battery recycling facility in Georgia)

Company Website:

2. Redwood Materials

Redwood Materials, Inc. is a US-based corporation in Carson City, Nevada.  The company’s objective is to reprocess lithium-ion batteries and manufacture battery components for electric mobility and storage systems. In  October 2021, Redwood Materials is worth $3.8 billion.

J.B. Straubel founded Redwood Materials after serving as a chief technical officer of Tesla, Inc. for 16 years. Redwood is going to build a completely closed loop for battery packs to create a rotating supply chain for electric cars and clean energy items, making them more efficient and bringing down battery costs. Redwood recycles, modifies, and reproduces lithium-ion batteries into environmentally friendly products that can be brought back to cell manufacturers in the United States.

(Redwood Materials Overview)

Company Website:

3. Lithion Recycling

Canadian company Lithion Recycling has presented an efficient and cost-effective reprocessing for lithium-ion batteries, which are the most commonly used in electrical vehicles and electronic devices today. This innovative process enables up to 95 percent of the battery materials to be recycled and they can be used again by producers, a concrete step toward closing the battery life-cycle loop.

Lithion Recycling’s technology employs a group of techniques based on hydrometallurgy which in turn gives very low greenhouse gas emissions.

Company Website:

4. Terracycle

TerraCycle is a privately held recycling company based in Trenton, New Jersey, United States. It mainly operates a volunteer-based recycling framework that collects non-recyclable pre and post-consumer waste on behalf of corporate donors or municipal governments in order to convert it into crude components for new products. The company licenses its brand to producers of approximately 200 items manufactured from its raw resources. TerraCycle also handles Loop, a recyclable packaging buying service for consumer goods.

TerraCycle has a recycling agreement with the San Francisco-based digital seller VIDA.  Every mask purchase includes a shopper in which used masks can be brought back to the seller and recycled by TerraCycle.

TerraCycle also has a partnership with the Big W department store chain in May 2022 to lower the number of unnecessary toys that goes to landfill.  Toys will be collected and recycled using dustbins provided by TerraCycle.

Company Website:

5. Moment Energy

Moment Energy recycles waste EV batteries that can provide cost-effective, efficient, and dependable energy storage. The company is collaborating with major car manufacturers such as Nissan, as well as 3 other automobile partners in Europe and North America, to take full benefit of the 80 percent remaining capabilities in retired electric vehicle batteries to offer cost-effective and powerful grid storage systems for centers located in large marketplaces.

Company Website:

6. Battery Resources

Battery Resourcers, a company established in 2015 and built on technology from Professor Wang’s team at WPI, is dedicated to altering the dynamics of recycling lithium-ion batteries that have reached the end of their useful lives.  With over 50 percent of the components in battery cells being recycled, their recovery process follows the safe methods and techniques of reactive battery waste and high saving performance.  To maximize the restoration of priceless battery metallic materials, the batteries are then divided into various fractions relying on their composition and metal contents.

Company Website:

7. Nth Cycle

Megan O’Connor founded Nth Cycle in 2017, and it is based in Beverly, Massachusetts in the United States.  By recovering materials of high commercial value and designing technologies to maximize yield, efficiency, and expense, it focuses on making battery recycling financially viable.

The company also believes that utilizing science-based methods to develop cost-effective lithium-battery recycling can lower pollution, generate employment, and lessen the dependence of the US on international raw material suppliers.

Company Website:


The greater use of EVs has boosted the importance of effective battery recycling.  Luckily, the issue has been identified, and the companies are investigating new techniques for recycling.  The completion of an EV’s life does not necessarily indicate the end of its power supply as both reuse and recycling are sustainable strategies for getting full benefits.  There are challenges for industries, but the increased demand for EVs will necessarily require that they continue improving and widen in the upcoming years.

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