Lithium is the driving force behind the transition to electric vehicles. As Europe races to secure domestic lithium sources, the speed and scale of the challenge means that we will need an aggressive acceleration of secondary metals coming from recycling streams. This is where the new EU battery Regulation can play a crucial role, but targets for lithium recovery from spent batteries proposed by the Commission and Council are far too weak and well below what the best available technology is achieving already today.
Evidence shows that hydrometallurgical battery recycling technologies, using chemicals rather than heat-based pyrometallurgical processes, can recover up to 90% of lithium – significantly higher than the Commission’s proposed 35% target for 2026 (and 70% in 2030).
Policy makers should go further and align with today’s best practice and support the lithium recovery targets proposed by Parliament: 70% in 2026 and 90% in 2030.