As the number of electric vehicles continues to increase, the number of batteries is also increasing, and people have begun to worry about how such lithium-ion batteries will be recycled after 10 to 15 years of use.
Why does recycling cause people to care? The first is cost: Because electric vehicle batteries are complex and require rare metals such as cobalt and manganese, they are one of the most expensive parts of such vehicles. As electric vehicles become more prevalent, recycling such metals from waste batteries is much cheaper than mining such metals from the earth. More importantly, it is possible to reduce the carbon footprint, not only to reduce the carbon footprint generated when driving, but also to strictly control the way the battery is recycled during the entire life of the battery to the waste.
South Korea sets up its first power battery recycling company
According to reports, Earthtech can dismantle 5,000 electric vehicles per year and handle 2,000 tons of used electric vehicle batteries. In addition, Earthtech also said it will invest 24 billion won (about 20 million US dollars) to build the company, and it is also the first such facility in the area.
In the factory, the dismantled used batteries will first undergo performance testing and then be prepared for a fixed energy storage system based on their own conditions and remaining capacity. If the test indicates that the battery has no possibility of being reused, raw materials such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and other precious metals inside the battery in the power storage system will also be recovered. Earthtech has not yet determined the recovery rate of each recyclable material in the battery.
In addition, the company will carry out research and commercial projects for various electric vehicle batteries.
The business of recycling batteries from electric vehicles is subject to complex environmental conditions, and it is also difficult to obtain technologies and processes for recycling used batteries. Earthtech will store all scrapped electric vehicles indoors and disassemble the batteries in an environmentally friendly way.
First, mobile charging treasure
These two problems can be solved with just one solution. The Volkswagen Group plans to produce a portable fast-charging pile that can store 360 kWh of energy and can charge up to four cars at a time, with a maximum fast-charge output of 100 kW. Like the portable phone charger, the Volkswagen Group's charging pile can be used until the power is exhausted or if it needs to be connected to the power supply to charge itself. In addition, the charging pile is small in size and can be deployed in places where it is difficult to charge electricity, such as music festivals.
The battery pack used in the charging pile is the same as that used in the electric vehicle produced by the Volkswagen MEB platform, so that when the battery life of the electric vehicle reaches the limit, it can also be used as a battery for the charging pile. The Volkswagen Group's first portable fast-charging pile is expected to be installed in Germany next year, and the Volkswagen Group expects to begin full production of the charging pile in 2020.
Second, recycling battery materials
If all the batteries lose their ability to store energy, the Volkswagen Group's Salzgitter parts factory will work. The plant is expected to become Volkswagen's first electric vehicle battery recycling center. Next year, the Salzgitter plant will have an annual processing capacity of around 1,200 tons, covering approximately 3,000 electric vehicles.
Volkswagen will use a special broken battery machine, individual battery components will be ground, liquid electrolyte will be removed, and such battery components will be broken down into "black powder", which contains valuable cobalt, lithium, manganese and nickel. Raw materials, such materials need to be further physically separated before they can be reused in new batteries.
Volkswagen's long-term goal is to recycle about 97% of the battery pack raw materials in scrapped electric vehicles (EVs). Now, the recovery rate of Volkswagen battery raw materials is 53%. The Salzgitter plant is expected to increase the recycling rate of Volkswagen's battery raw materials to 72%. Volkswagen expects more battery recycling plants in the Salzgitter plant in the next few years. Considering the sales volume of the Volkswagen Group's electric vehicle plan, Volkswagen will give priority to handling battery recycling within the company for cost and environmental considerations, although it is still at least 10 years before the battery pulverizer processes the battery in large quantities.
According to foreign media reports, Earthtech will become the first company in Korea to enter the battery recycling business of electric vehicles. The company has recently built a professional facility for disassembling electric vehicles and recycling used batteries.