GM Inside News Forum banner

1 - 20 of 37 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,539 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
By Emma Woollacott
Technology of Business reporter
Published11 hours ago





The rate at which we're growing the industry is absolutely scary," says Paul Anderson from Birmingham University.

He's talking about the market for electric cars in Europe.

By 2030, the EU hopes that there will be 30 million electric cars on European roads.

"It's something that's never really been done before at that rate of growth for a completely new product," says Dr Anderson, who is also the co-director of the Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials.

While electric vehicles (EVs) may be carbon neutral during their working lifetime, he's concerned about what happens when they run out of road - in particular what happens to the batteries.

"In 10 to 15 years when there are large numbers coming to the end of their life, it's going to be very important that we have a recycling industry," he points out.

While most EV components are much the same as those of conventional cars, the big difference is the battery. While traditional lead-acid batteries are widely recycled, the same can't be said for the lithium-ion versions used in electric cars.

EV batteries are larger and heavier than those in regular cars and are made up of several hundred individual lithium-ion cells, all of which need dismantling. They contain hazardous materials, and have an inconvenient tendency to explode if disassembled incorrectly.

"Currently, globally, it's very hard to get detailed figures for what percentage of lithium-ion batteries are recycled, but the value everyone quotes is about 5%," says Dr Anderson. "In some parts of the world it's considerably less."

Recent proposals from the European Union would see EV suppliers responsible for making sure that their products aren't simply dumped at the end of their life, and manufacturers are already starting to step up to the mark.

Nissan, for example, is now reusing old batteries from its Leaf cars in the automated guided vehicles that deliver parts to workers in its factories.



Volkswagen is doing the same, but has also recently opened its first recycling plant, in Salzgitter, Germany, and plans to recycle up to 3,600 battery systems per year during the pilot phase.

"As a result of the recycling process, many different materials are recovered. As a first step we focus on cathode metals like cobalt, nickel, lithium and manganese," says Thomas Tiedje, head of planning for recycling at Volkswagen Group Components.

"Dismantled parts of the battery systems such as aluminium and copper are given into established recycling streams."
Renault, meanwhile, is now recycling all its electric car batteries - although as things stand, that only amounts to a couple of hundred a year. It does this through a consortium with French waste management company Veolia and Belgian chemical firm Solvay.

"We are aiming at being able to address 25% of the recycling market. We want to maintain this level of coverage, and of course this would cover by far the needs of Renault," says Jean-Philippe Hermine, Renault's VP for strategic environmental planning.

"It's a very open project - it's not to recycle only Renault batteries but all batteries, and also including production waste from the battery manufacturing plants."


Dismantling the battery into its parts is time-consuming

"In some markets, such as China, health and safety regulation and environmental regulation is much more lax, and working conditions wouldn't be accepted in a Western context," says Gavin Harper, Faraday Institution research fellow.
"Also, because labour is more expensive, the whole economics of it make it difficult to make it a good proposition in the UK."

The answer, he says, is automation and robotics: "If you can automate that, we can pull some of the danger out of it and make it more economically efficient."

The issue is also receiving attention from scientific bodies such as the Faraday Institution, whose ReLiB project aims to optimise the recycling of EV batteries and make it as streamlined as possible.

"We imagine a more efficient, more cost-effective industry in future, instead of going through some of the processes that are available - and can be scaled up now - but are not terribly efficient," says Dr Anderson, who is principal investigator for the project.

Currently, for example, much of the substance of a battery is reduced during the recycling process to what is called black mass - a mixture of lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel - which needs further, energy-intensive processing to recover the materials in a usable form.

Manually dismantling fuel cells allows for more of these materials to be efficiently recovered, but brings problems of its own.

And there are indeed powerful economic arguments for improving the recyclability of EV batteries - not least, the fact that many of the elements used are hard to come by in Europe and the UK.

"You've got the waste management problem on the one hand, but then on the flip side of that you've also got a great opportunity because obviously the UK doesn't have indigenous supplies of many factory materials," says Dr Harper.
"There's a bit of lithium in Cornwall, but by and large we've got challenges in terms of sourcing the factory materials that we need."

From a manufacturer's point of view, therefore, recycling old batteries is the safest way to ensure a ready supply of new ones.

"We need to secure - as a manufacturer, as Europeans - the sourcing of these materials that are strategic for mobility and for the industry," says Mr Hermine.

"We don't have access to these materials outside of this recycling field - the end-of-life battery is the urban mining of Europe."

LINK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,599 Posts
If the objective of EVs is really to be environmentally friendly to save the Earth, then these batteries need to be recycled 100%. This requirement needs to be accepted world wide.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,214 Posts
There are companies that are already recycling these batteries. I just don't understand why people belly ache about this?

Get use to it because it's coming weather you like it or not.
wHAT??

It's actually a pretty well written, well informed article about the possible difficulties or recycling the batteries. Yes, there are companies that already recycle them but at the fraction of what will need to be recycled in the near future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
wHAT??

It's actually a pretty well written, well informed article about the possible difficulties or recycling the batteries. Yes, there are companies that already recycle them but at the fraction of what will need to be recycled in the near future.
This is true, but the more batteries that get made there will be more recycling companies come on board.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,291 Posts
Bfore we go digging into the earth for more REMs, maybe we should mine garbage dumps...people toss cell phones, broken tablets, laptop batteries, etc into the trash daily. surely we can make gains just from recouping what was discarded as waste.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cee

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,456 Posts
Hopefully, whatever they do, works better than the "blue bin" recycling process we have in CT. We have two garbage bins, one for regular garbage and a blue one for paper, cardboard and plastics. From what I understand, since China said they are no longer taking the worlds garbage, all of this recycled material goes straight to the landfill along with the regular garbage.

I'm all for it, but don't make everyone recycle if nothing is being done with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43,942 Posts
Hopefully, whatever they do, works better than the "blue bin" recycling process we have in CT. We have two garbage bins, one for regular garbage and a blue one for paper, cardboard and plastics. From what I understand, since China said they are no longer taking the worlds garbage, all of this recycled material goes straight to the landfill along with the regular garbage.

I'm all for it, but don't make everyone recycle if nothing is being done with it.

Well... if. you were China, why would you want to keep taking the world's garbage?
I don't blame them. I don't even know why they accepted it in the first place.
The world needs to learn how to reuse and recycle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,456 Posts
Well... if. you were China, why would you want to keep taking the world's garbage?
I don't blame them. I don't even know why they accepted it in the first place.
The world needs to learn how to reuse and recycle.
I certainly don't blame China.

However, our esteemed politicians shouldn't make us recycle just so we feel good and then it all goes to the landfill. I'm all for the circular economy - they have a nice process with the deposits on cans and bottles - that needs to be rolled out nationwide. That truly works (except in California, where they force you to pay the container deposit, but no way to get your money back). They need to find out a way to set up a workable process with other materials, such as paper. While they argue about how many bathrooms we need for the 100 different genders, they could be working on something a little more practical, like a workable recycling process.

The current process is nothing but broken and virtually pointless and probably just adds costs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,434 Posts
Hopefully, whatever they do, works better than the "blue bin" recycling process we have in CT. We have two garbage bins, one for regular garbage and a blue one for paper, cardboard and plastics. From what I understand, since China said they are no longer taking the worlds garbage, all of this recycled material goes straight to the landfill along with the regular garbage.

I'm all for it, but don't make everyone recycle if nothing is being done with it.
Same here in PA. Yet, perception equals reality for most so it must continue as ridiculous as it is.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BlackGTP

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,149 Posts
I like to listen to John McElroy (Automotive Insight) give his daily two-minute auto news each day. Today, he talked about the glass used in cars. He said that other than a very small amount being recycled into asphalt, the bulk of the windshields and other glass used in autos goes into landfill. Apparently it's laminated with plastic and wire and cannot economically be separated.

I wish I could be as optimistic as Scottieeeee is, but as far as having a bunch of companies just appear out of nowhere to recycle EV batteries, there has to be a profit in it first. And there's the rub.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cee

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,434 Posts
It's a really good analogy to how our entire culture has shifted - appearance matters more than substance.
I prefer my substance wrapped within an attractive appearance package. GM still offers quite a few.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,780 Posts
I like to listen to John McElroy (Automotive Insight) give his daily two-minute auto news each day. Today, he talked about the glass used in cars. He said that other than a very small amount being recycled into asphalt, the bulk of the windshields and other glass used in autos goes into landfill. Apparently it's laminated with plastic and wire and cannot economically be separated.

I wish I could be as optimistic as Scottieeeee is, but as far as having a bunch of companies just appear out of nowhere to recycle EV batteries, there has to be a profit in it first. And there's the rub.
By the look of it recycling Lithium Batteries is an expensive process.


All the safety gear and OHS process would make new start ups wary of getting into the business in the short term

I do see this as something the manufacturers may do as a goodwill excercise initially to ease customer fear
 
  • Like
Reactions: BlackGTP
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
Top