Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

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Thread: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

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    Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    By Mike Brown on November 7, 2019

    Electric cars could help reduce global carbon emissions, but their design could spark a new environmental challenge.

    Researchers at the University of Birmingham detailed Thursday how the batteries inside electric vehicles could lead to a growing mass of waste at the end of the car’s life. With one million electric cars sold globally in 2017, that could result in half a million cubic meters of unprocessed pack waste. The team’s findings were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

    “The recycling challenge is not straightforward: there is enormous variety in the chemistries, shapes and designs of lithium-ion batteries used in EVs. Individual cells are formed into modules, which are then assembled into battery packs. To recycle these efficiently, they must be disassembled and the resulting waste streams separated,” Gavin Harper, Faraday Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, said in a statement.

    The researchers are by no means anti-electrification, as the paper declares that rapid growth in the market is “imperative” to meet climate change targets and improve air quality. They do note that recycling is a key issue, and one that could dramatically grow worse. If two percent of the world’s cars go electric, it would cover around 140 million vehicles. That would be enough to cover the circumference of the Earth.

    Without a clear strategy in place, the world could sleepwalk into a major issue.

    Electric cars: how to avoid an environmental disaster
    The researchers identify a number of key points that could help the world transition sustainably onto electric vehicles:

    A rapid repair and recycling system, which would avoid a potentially hazardous long-term store of old batteries.
    Better battery health and diagnostics systems to understand how teams can repurpose batteries faster.
    A better understanding of good uses for old batteries, so they can be repurposed.
    Designing batteries to better support these systems and automate the process.
    New stabilization systems that ensure teams can open batteries safely.
    Reusing materials could offer more than just environmental benefits. The paper notes that cobalt, mined largely in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, poses serious ethical questions about its sourcing. Those that can afford electric vehicles benefit from an ethically questionable supply chain, and the paper notes that “these social burdens are borne by some of the world’s most vulnerable people.” Creating a circular economy for materials could help alleviate some of these issues.

    Battery mining raises other issues, the paper notes. Around 65 percent of the water in Chile’s Salar de Atacama is used for mining, reducing the amount available to farmers. If battery developers can recover more materials from older batteries in a useable form, it could reduce the impact of battery production on local communities.

    Automakers have started taking steps in this direction. Tesla announced in April a closed-loop recycling facility that recovers steel, cobalt, aluminum, copper and lithium for use in new batteries. Volkswagen is set to switch on a recycling plant in Salzgitter as early as 2020, initially focusing on 1,200 tons per year. The company is focused on ways to recover lithium, cobalt, manganese, and nickel.

    Whether it’s enough remains to be seen.

    Read the abstract below:

    Rapid growth in the market for electric vehicles is imperative, to meet global targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to improve air quality in urban centres and to meet the needs of consumers, with whom electric vehicles are increasingly popular. However, growing numbers of electric vehicles present a serious waste-management challenge for recyclers at end-of-life. Nevertheless, spent batteries may also present an opportunity as manufacturers require access to strategic elements and critical materials for key components in electric-vehicle manufacture: recycled lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles could provide a valuable secondary source of materials. Here we outline and evaluate the current range of approaches to electric-vehicle lithium-ion battery recycling and re-use, and highlight areas for future progress.

    Media via Flickr / Zero Emission Resource Organisation, Tesla, Shutterstock

    https://www.inverse.com/article/6073...ntal-challenge
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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    If humanity is serious about cutting pollution, cars, at least partially, need to be supplanted by mass transit. No one is taking the car away, but it shouldn't be a necessity. You are free to own one, but you wouldn't need one. That's how it is in some highly developed economies such as Japan. Rail travel is still the most efficient in terms of resources, the upfront cost is worth the environmental and social benefits rail brings.

    Either that, or someone needs to figure out how to get overheard catenary on roads and pantographs on cars. Which will eliminate the need for batteries.
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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    This is silly, just drop your dead battery in that little bin at the entrance to Best Buy, problem-solved! Duh!

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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Self Reliance View Post
    If humanity is serious about cutting pollution, cars, at least partially, need to be supplanted by mass transit. No one is taking the car away, but it shouldn't be a necessity. You are free to own one, but you wouldn't need one.
    Mass transit out here in Podunk is a few buses that drunks and people that can't afford a car use to get around.
    I think they mostly go to the Walmart or the mall. There aren't enough people to justify much more than that.
    Last edited by eaton53; 11-08-2019 at 04:02 PM.
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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by eaton53 View Post
    Mass transit out here in Podunk is a few buses that drunks and people that can't afford a car use to get around.
    I think they mostly go to the Walmart or the mall. There aren't enough people to justify much more than that.
    But there are places where there's more than enough people to justify it.

    In 1950 urban population was 64.0%, in 2010 it is 80.7%. You can bet when the 2020 census is done, it will be even higher.
    https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/cph-2-1.pdf
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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by eaton53 View Post
    Mass transit out here in Podunk is a few buses that drunks and people that can't afford a car use to get around.
    I think they mostly go to the Walmart or the mall. There aren't enough people to justify much more than that.
    You are talking to a brick wall Statist who will first take your cars then your guns then your remaining freedoms. Everyone will be equal, equally miserable and hungry.
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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    The whole concept of working in crowded dirty urban environment is a model for antiquated academics who are invested in it. Stop perpetuating it. Taxing the hell out of people to try to build mass transit in cities where it doesn't exist is a fools errand. Time for a new model where people are freed from commuting. In the connected world of today more and more people work remotely and only periodically need to visit an office and colleagues. For 10 years I have enjoyed driving for pleasure and not for daily slogging my way into an office.

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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    You are talking to a brick wall Statist who will first take your cars then your guns then your remaining freedoms. Everyone will be equal, equally miserable and hungry.
    None of this is true. I'm not the strawman you think I am.

    I don't know even where to begin to reach you, but on the guns, at least the Marxist position is well documented:
    "Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary." -- Karl Marx

    No one is taking anyone's cars. Socialism allows car ownership, China is after all the biggest car market, you have to be pretty dense to think socialism means no cars.

    "miserable and hungry" no, not even the CIA promotes this nonsense https://www.cia.gov/library/readingr...000300150009-5

    quote from CIA link above [emphasis mine]:
    "Approved For Release 2007/05117: CIA-RDP84B00274R000300150009-5
    RFUTEPS
    8 JANUARY 1983
    5 PENGTH-DIET
    American and Soviet citizens eat about the same amount of food each day but
    the Soviet diet may be more nutritious.

    According to a CIA report released today both nationalities may be eating
    too much for good health.
    The CIA drew no conclusions about the nutritional makeup of the Soviet and
    American diets but commonly accepted U.S. health views suggest the Soviet diet
    may be slightly better."


    You are free to disagree, but you can't just make up outright lies. Neoliberal brain rot runs deep in you ol' man/woman/person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpole View Post
    The whole concept of working in crowded dirty urban environment is a model for antiquated academics who are invested in it. Stop perpetuating it. Taxing the hell out of people to try to build mass transit in cities where it doesn't exist is a fools errand. Time for a new model where people are freed from commuting. In the connected world of today more and more people work remotely and only periodically need to visit an office and colleagues. For 10 years I have enjoyed driving for pleasure and not for daily slogging my way into an office.
    I am only quoting the census data. America is increasingly urban, I provided a source to the census data a few comments ago. The need for mass transit therefore should be obvious.

    I'm all for telecommuting, but I'm also for mix-zone development where people live next to where they work.

    Providing the numbers again, because apparently no one reads.

    In 1950 urban population was 64.0%, in 2010 it is 80.7%. You can bet when the 2020 census is done, it will be even higher.
    https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/cph-2-1.pdf


    Edit: I didn't want this thread to turn into another discussion on socialism vs. capitalism. Frankly, I'm tired of it at the moment. But Neanderthal's rampant liberalism needed to be checked, he/she/they effectively trolled me into it.

    Can we now please go back on topic? EVs will pose interesting challenges, and are worth discussing, no need for politics at least in this thread
    Last edited by Self Reliance; 11-08-2019 at 08:41 PM. Reason: I apologize for possibly misgendering you, I assumed you were male without asking first
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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    Here's an interesting article on-topic that I found. Daimler AG seems to have started a subsidiary to repurpose EV batteries for energy storage.

    Source: EV Batteries Repurposed for Energy Storage

    Daimler, the German automotive company best-known for the Mercedes-Benz line of vehicles, obviously knows a bit about cars. So perhaps it’s no surprise its subsidiary, Mercedes-Benz Energy, is using vehicle technology to repurpose a retired coal plant, as it takes its knowledge of electric vehicles (EVs) and moves into energy storage. Daimler, along with GETEC ENERGIE AG and technology company The Mobility House AG, is turning the old Mark-E coal-fired plant in Elverlingsen, Germany, into an energy storage facility, using nearly 2,000 modules from EV battery packs made by Daimler’s Accumotive subsidiary.

    Mercedes-Benz Energy has launched other projects utilizing battery packs for EVs for stationary energy storage. The company in June said the Elverlingsen project, along with a battery storage facility in Lünen (12.8 MWh of energy capacity, opened in 2016) and a spare parts storage facility in Hanover (17.4 MWh, opened in 2017), means that “40 MWh of energy will [soon] be connected to the grid.” The facility in Hanover, in the Herrenhausen district, includes about 3,000 battery modules. The project is managed by Enercity, a German electric utility.

    The Elverlingsen project has 8.96 MW of installed capacity (9.8 MWh of energy capacity), with 1,920 battery modules installed at the former 330-MW coal plant, which shut down in March (a second 200-MW coal-fired unit was retired in 2014). Daimler in a statement said, “The large storage plant is therefore a symbol for the transformation in the storage and use of energy, away from fossil electricity grid supply and towards a sustainable extension of the e-mobility value chain that reduces CO2.” Daimler said the project would be used to balance power on the German grid, which has continued to add more intermittent renewable energy in recent years. “In the event of increasing fluctuations in electricity feed-in from renewable energies such as wind and solar energy, such storage units help to ensure optimum balancing of the grid frequency, which must be constantly stabilised,” the company said in a statement. “With their storage capacity, they balance the energy fluctuations with virtually no losses—a task which is currently predominantly performed by fast-rotating turbines, rotating masses in large power stations.”
    Full article at link. [emphasis mine]



    It seems like some work is already went into figuring out what to do with EV batteries. It is quite interesting and would be necessary as more renewable power generation comes online.
    Last edited by Self Reliance; 11-08-2019 at 08:46 PM.
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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    I know I need a whole study to tell me this.

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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by mbukukanyau View Post
    I know I need a whole study to tell me this.
    There are thousands of perfesserz and oo-niversity students who depend on grants to study important things that would be obvious to anyone with a room tempachur IQ. These are mostly "grants," aka our money doled out courtesy of the generosity and largesse of unelected faceless nameless, often brainless bureaucrats who could be fired tomorrow and the world would be a better place for it.

    Another piece of evidence that supports my contention that we could cut the federal budget in half IF we guillotined all waste, fraud, abuse, and unconstitutional departments, bureaucracies, and cabinet agencies.
    Now, where those legions of unskilled non-workers would go to earn their daily bread...aye, there's the rub. I guess they could all migrate to Paradise, known to some here as Red China. Everything is wonderful there, it's almost like science fiction it's so great. Uighur re-education camps don't count.
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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    There are thousands of perfesserz and oo-niversity students who depend on grants to study important things that would be obvious to anyone with a room tempachur IQ. These are mostly "grants," aka our money doled out courtesy of the generosity and largesse of unelected faceless nameless, often brainless bureaucrats who could be fired tomorrow and the world would be a better place for it.

    Another piece of evidence that supports my contention that we could cut the federal budget in half IF we guillotined all waste, fraud, abuse, and unconstitutional departments, bureaucracies, and cabinet agencies.
    Now, where those legions of unskilled non-workers would go to earn their daily bread...aye, there's the rub. I guess they could all migrate to Paradise, known to some here as Red China. Everything is wonderful there, it's almost like science fiction it's so great. Uighur re-education camps don't count.
    You really can't help yourself, can't you?

    Quote Originally Posted by mbukukanyau View Post
    I know I need a whole study to tell me this.
    Some of us weren't born knowing everything I guess. Even what seems as common sense can sometimes be scientifically proven to be false.
    Last edited by Self Reliance; 11-10-2019 at 11:12 AM.
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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpole View Post
    The whole concept of working in crowded dirty urban environment is a model for antiquated academics who are invested in it. Stop perpetuating it. Taxing the hell out of people to try to build mass transit in cities where it doesn't exist is a fools errand. Time for a new model where people are freed from commuting. In the connected world of today more and more people work remotely and only periodically need to visit an office and colleagues. For 10 years I have enjoyed driving for pleasure and not for daily slogging my way into an office.
    How nice for you. Try working in a burger joint, shopping center, construction site, or warehouse from home.

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    Re: Electric cars' design could spark new environmental challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Self Reliance View Post
    In 1950 urban population was 64.0%, in 2010 it is 80.7%. You can bet when the 2020 census is done, it will be even higher.
    https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/cph-2-1.pdf
    Per the link, there are but 74 areas with a population over 250K. That leaves 29,187 'places' of less than that.
    The accompanying population figures for that break are 85 million / 223 million. [Table 4]

    Further, total area of urban or partially urban areas is 106K (units), vs, 3,425K (units) of rural or partially rural.

    Mass transit cannot hope to become widespread enough to 'not need' personal transportation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 09W View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Self Reliance View Post
    In 1950 urban population was 64.0%, in 2010 it is 80.7%. You can bet when the 2020 census is done, it will be even higher.
    https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/cph-2-1.pdf
    Per the link, there are but 74 areas with a population over 250K. That leaves 29,187 'places' of less than that.
    The accompanying population figures for that break are 85 million / 223 million. [Table 4]

    Further, total area of urban or partially urban areas is 106K (units), vs, 3,425K (units) of rural or partially rural.

    Mass transit cannot hope to become widespread enough to 'not need' personal transportation.
    If you live in a rural area of course you will need a car and that will probably never change. I'm talking solely about urban areas where mass transit makes sense. What part of fewer people are living in rural areas and more people living in urban areas compared to the 1950s did you not understand? Why is our transportation policy still stuck in the 1950s?

    I live in an urban area, I have a car and so does my spouse, I'm never giving up my car, but I would really like it if I could make some of my trips without needing to use my car. That's all I'm advocating for.
    Last edited by Self Reliance; 11-10-2019 at 08:26 AM.
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