Global Car Companies Are Rushing To Deploy Power Battery Recycling

- Oct 15, 2019-

According to foreign media reports, Volkswagen plans to establish a battery recycling plant in Salzgitter, Germany. Since 2020, the plant will receive nearly 1,200 tons of used lithium-ion battery packs for used vehicles every year.

After the battery packs are analyzed and classified, the used batteries that have a certain service life will be reused, and the completely discarded batteries will be pulverized into fine powder. Volkswagen said that precious metals such as lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel, or rare metal materials can be separated and used to make new battery packs.

Volkswagen believes that the utilization rate of raw materials for such battery packs will be as high as 97% in the next decade. It is estimated that the pilot project will help increase the recycling rate of materials from the current 53% to 72%.

Although Volkswagen has activated the battery recycling plant in Germany, it has not yet decided whether to set up a corresponding battery recycling operation in North America. After all, Volkswagen will launch the Audi e-tron electric car in the North American market this year, and plans to launch Volkswagen I.D.Crozz next year.

Given the average driving cycle (driving cycles), today's lithium battery packs have an estimated life of about 10 years, which is equivalent to nearly 150,000 miles of cruising range. In Europe and China, car companies are required to provide follow-up strategies for the end of their product life, especially those that pose a hazard to the environment.

About battery recycling:

At present, the power battery recycling project is mainly used for recycling and dismantling and ladder utilization.

Wu Hui, research director of the Ivey Institute of Economics, pointed out in his report that the ternary power battery contains lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminum, graphite, and separator by disassembling it by containing rare metals such as nickel, cobalt and manganese. Such materials, in theory, can achieve economic benefits of about 4,290,000 yuan per ton (this data changes with fluctuations in metal prices), making it economically viable.

The lithium iron phosphate battery can only achieve an economic benefit of about 0.93 million yuan per ton through scrapping and dismantling, and it is difficult to cover the recycling cost. Therefore, the lithium iron phosphate battery is more suitable for the use of the ladder.

Many car companies around the world are stepping up their layout in the field of power battery recycling. At the end of October 2018, Audi announced that it has teamed up with Umicore to complete the first phase of the cooperation in power battery recycling strategy research. The two companies are working together to develop a closed loop that can repeatedly use high-voltage battery components. Earlier, many Japanese automakers such as Toyota and Nissan announced plans to jointly start recycling lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

In March last year, Nissan announced the establishment of Japan's first power battery recycling plant with Sumitomo in Namie, Japan, which will be operated by 4R Energy, a joint venture between the two companies. Factory-recycled and reprocessed batteries will provide the world's first replaceable reprocessable battery for electric vehicles, large energy storage systems and electric forklifts. Toyota is also exploring potential applications for power batteries, and the company has partnered with Central Japan Power to build a large-capacity battery system.

The three major US companies (FCA, Ford and GM) are also collaborating on the power battery recycling business. Last November, three US cooperatives, the American Advanced Battery Alliance (USABC), awarded Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) $1.08 million for the second phase of lithium battery recycling. Previously, USABC gave WPI a $1 million contract in February 2016 to expand and develop its recycling of PHEV battery cathode materials. The three companies invested in battery recycling as early as 2016, reflecting the sense of crisis in the supply chain of the battery and battery materials.

So far, the growth of the electric vehicle market has largely relied on government policies, from encouraging buyers to encouraging sales. The main markets expect the government will take a similar approach in battery recycling and re-utilization. March 2018, the European Commission and other partners Renault signed a project called "From electric cars to recovery: electric cars virtuous circle" (FromE-Mobilitytorecycling: thevirtuousloopoftheelectricvehicle) innovative agreement to solve the power battery recycling and reuse problem. The agreement will focus on the EU and national levels, to promote the secondary use of battery power, and find out where the legislative and regulatory barriers that may exist, as well as ways to overcome these barriers.

2018 Ministry of Industry jointly seven ministries issued a "new energy automobile power battery recycling Interim Measures," and a series of policies the new rules, already indicates "power battery recycling" is about to enter standardized management stage, and in February this year, 22 day laborers letter issued by the Ministry "the new energy vehicle power battery recycling research report" (hereinafter referred to as "research"), once again the height of the scrap battery pollution prevention and control to a new round of battle.