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Kia, SK Innovation team up for recycling of used EV batteries

A researcher of SK Innovation Co. looks at lithium extracted from a used electric vehicle battery in this photo provided by the battery maker on Thursday. (SK Innovation Co.)
A researcher of SK Innovation Co. looks at lithium extracted from a used electric vehicle battery in this photo provided by the battery maker on Thursday. (SK Innovation Co.)
South Korean automaker Kia Corp. and its battery supplier SK Innovation Co. will work together for the recycling of used electric vehicle (EV) batteries to secure valuable metals and reduce waste, the companies said Thursday.

SK Innovation supplies lithium-ion batteries for Kia's EV6 and other EV models, and they have been working together to make use of spent batteries after forging a partnership in March 2020.

The two companies said they will work together to process and reuse spent EV batteries in the energy storage system (ESS) or recover metals to make new batteries, which could lower manufacturing costs.

With demand for EV batteries surging, it has become increasingly important to secure raw materials, such as lithium, nickel and cobalt, which account for more than half of a battery's cost.

In addition to potential economic benefits, recycling could reduce the quantity of materials going into landfills, which can contaminate soil and groundwater, SK Innovation said.

A projected hike in EV sales has raised awareness of conserving natural resources and addressing battery end-of-life issues.

The nation's energy ministry predicted the number of used EV batteries to jump from 1,400 in 2020 to over 67,000 in 2030 and 2.45 million in 2040. (Yonhap)

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