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Clock ticking on battery-power 'time bomb'

China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-08 08:07

Employees work on the production line of a lithium battery producer in Hai'an, Jiangsu province. ZHAI HUIYONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

The fast development of the electric vehicle and electric bicycle industries means that the recycling of lithium batteries is becoming an essential downstream industry. This has led to the mushrooming of unqualified and unlicensed small battery recycling workshops. There are even livestreaming anchors selling "courses" on how to dismantle and assemble used lithium batteries to help "gold rushers" realize their "financial freedom" in a short time.

But the recycling and dismantling of lithium batteries poses flammability and explosion risks, and problems such as pollution may also occur during the process. Because of this, there are strict technical requirements and regulations on it.

Yet the workshops purchase used batteries at much higher prices than the licensed and qualified battery recycling enterprises, as their lack of standards means their costs, if any, are much lower. Also, because of that, they sell "new batteries" they assemble from used batteries at much lower prices than those of the products manufactured by legal battery companies, dominating the market in some places. Many battery-related fires are attributable to the products produced by these workshops.

The market for lithium batteries is still expanding fast, and the "wave of retirement" for batteries is yet to come, meaning that these illegal recyclers constitute a "time bomb". Relevant watchdog departments are obliged to deal with the issue by intensifying their crackdown on the illegal battery recycling industry and market.


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