Study: Recycling Lithium Batteries via MNTRC

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In a study released this month titled “Remanufacturing, Repurposing, and Recycling of Post-Vehicle-Application Lithium-Ion Batteries”, you get some good cocktail-party ammunition to the common challenge to EVs about life cycles and disposal of the batteries.  (Nevermind that everything that has anything to do with a lithium battery life cycle is so much less disastrous to the environment that anything having to do with the petrochemical process, but still, it’s a concern if we’re going to have to understand it and deal with it.)

You also get a metric ton of information on the battery and EV industry in general, as the foundation for the study.

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So here is the page where you can download the study.  I’m posting it here too, because of the whims of the interwebs screwing the link up at some point.  Here that is: 1137-post-vehicle-Li-Ion-recycling

Basically, it comes down to this conclusion:

There are three viable options for handling post-vehicle-application lithium-ion batteries: remanufacturing, repurposing, and recycling.

Some excerpts:

Proprietary commercial processes for remanufacturing for reuse in vehicles require safe battery testing that is supported by a newly developed workbench. Repurposing, with a focus on stationary energy storage applications and the development of battery management systems, is demonstrated. Recycling to recover the battery component materials using manual disassembly and acid leaching at relatively low temperatures and in short time periods is shown to be effective. A cost benefit-analysis shows that remanufacturing is profitable. Repurposing is profitable if the development cost is no more than $83/kWh to $114/kWh, depending on research and development expenses. Recycling, driven by environmental and sustainability principles, is not profitable in isolation.

In the Summary and Conclusions:

Results show that by2035, the number of available post-vehicle-application batteries ranges from 1.376 million in the pessimistic forecast to 6.759 million in the optimistic forecast, with a middle forecast of 3.773 million, enough batteries to justify remanufacturing, repurposing, and recycling efforts. More importantly, the number of available post-vehicle-application batteries is
between approximately 55% and 60% of the number of batteries needed for new EV andPHEV production, further supporting the opportunity for remanufacturing.

It’s actually a really good read, and outlines a lot of the work, present and future, that’s being done to answer some very good questions.  I’d encourage you to go through it entirely.

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