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Adam Hewitt

Harnessing full potential of battery power will unlock huge opportunities as part of Net-Zero Transition

A set of new reports forecasting battery demand in Scotland over the next 25 years has uncovered a ‘golden circular opportunity’ to bring economic advantage and more green jobs to the country as part of its net-zero Transition.


Harnessing full potential of battery power will unlock huge opportunities as part of Net-Zero Transition f

‘the agency found that around 40 percent of future battery waste could come from electric vehicles’

The research, commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland, in partnership with Transport Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, forecasts that used batteries will triple over the next 25 years as demand grows across all sectors, potentially reaching over 60,000 tonnes per year in Scotland by 2045.

It highlights the potential for reprocessing batteries in Scotland using the nation’s green energy grid to reduce carbon emissions and create “significant new job opportunities.” The reports, entitled ‘Battery use in Scotland now and in the future’, add to previous evidence that most used batteries – and the valuable and potentially hazardous materials they contain – are currently exported for recycling or sent to landfill.

By assessing the expected rising demand for batteries across key sectors, including transport, the agency found that around 40 percent of future battery waste could come from electric vehicles, while high levels of consumption for technological goods like smartphones over the past decade will also be a source of battery waste. Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Lorna Slater said:

“As we transition to a low carbon economy, batteries will play an increasingly important and welcome role in our transport and energy sectors.

This valuable research from Zero Waste Scotland, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise and Transport Scotland, identifies the opportunities that current modern lithium battery technology can bring – including the potential to support a Just Transition and create new jobs in areas such as refining, repurposing and recycling.

“Even with zero-emission technology, we cannot meet our world-leading climate targets without a more circular economy here in Scotland. Conserving valuable and finite resources in a way which supports jobs, communities and our environment is a sensible approach we can all get behind.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“This report sees us map out a potential resource and revenue stream for Scotland’s future. It is one of a number of resource mapping reports Zero Waste Scotland plans to produce to ensure we are armed with the knowledge we need to capitalise on the economic opportunities of sustainable resource management in a Net-zero future.

In forecasting the future demand for batteries, we can identify a golden opportunity to develop a circular approach to the way we manage those batteries when they become waste. Embracing these opportunities is fundamental to our achievement of Net-zero for Scotland.”

Charlotte Stamper, circular economy energy infrastructure specialist at Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“The switch from fossil fuels to greener, electric vehicles is an important step in helping to end the climate crisis. Batteries can help make that happen. But as this study highlights, we need to build in a sustainable way to reuse and recycle those batteries at the end of their first life. Investing in these circular solutions now is better for the planet and creates more green jobs, stronger supply chains, greater resilience to trade disruption and reduced costs.”

Andy McDonald head of low carbon transition at Scottish Enterprise said:

“This series of reports into the future of batteries with Transport Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland looks at the sector, EV batteries and future technology to identify opportunities for Scottish companies to improve sustainability and increase circularity within the supply and disposal chain.

Scottish Enterprise is committed to delivering economic growth for Scotland that creates a sustainable, inclusive and fair future for us all. We have a key role in supporting businesses as well as developing opportunities around new technology and markets. There is huge opportunity in the fast-growing demand for new, innovative battery technology supporting our energy use and increased use of electric transport. As these reports highlight, there is also significant additional resource, revenue and jobs potential from battery remanufacturing and we will utilise the findings and link to wider work around energy transition that will be key to reaching Scotland’s net-zero targets.”

Key recommendations in the research included:

  • Updating the existing Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for batteries giving manufacturers a greater duty to minimise waste and associated emissions;
  • Introducing battery recycling targets and carbon footprint declarations to discourage waste;
  • Designing new batteries with end of life in mind so they are easy to disassemble for re-use.

The reports were commissioned through a valuable new interagency collaboration to accelerate decarbonisation of national transport and energy by making best use of resources through the circular economy. The Faraday Institution has estimated that growing demand for batteries from the switch to electric vehicles could boost jobs in the automotive industry and battery supply chain UK-wide from 186,000 to 246,000 by 2040.

More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at


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Adam Hewitt

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The views and opinions expressed on ATF Professional are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the editor, publisher or staff of ATF Professional.


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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

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