Waste Battery Recycling Technology to Prevent Environmental Pollution

With the rise of electric vehicles, the recycling of old batteries is attracting attention as a new technology with high growth potential. Lithium-ion batteries, which are mostly used in electric vehicles, rapidly deteriorate after about 500 charges. The battery can be replaced after 150,000 ~ 200,000km, considering that the driving distance for one charge is 300 ~ 400km.

This discarded battery can cause serious environmental pollution. In fact, the National Institute of Environmental Sciences classifies environmentally friendly waste batteries as toxic substances containing more than 1% of cobalt oxide, lithium, manganese and nickel. Batteries from electric vehicles developed for eco-friendliness create a paradoxical situation that pollutes the environment.

However, the waste battery can also be recycled or reused after recovery. The remaining value of the waste battery above 70-80% can be reused for the ESS. In the case of poorly-used waste batteries, they can be disassembled to extract and recycle rare metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese.

EV batteries are known to have 70-80% capacity recyclable even after disposal. Therefore, once the battery recycling system is complete, it is possible to reduce the production cost of EV batteries by 30-60%.

EV batteries do not yet have globally standardized evaluation or recycling standards. As a result, companies and research institutes trying to recycle waste batteries are currently recycling in different ways.

Germany, which is leading the green industry, has introduced a new battery law that mandates the collection of batteries since December 2009. According to this, battery manufacturers, importers and distributors have a duty to collect and recycle old batteries.

96% recycling of battery components

Duzenfeldt, a German chemical company, has developed a technology to break down a lithium-ion battery with only one of its pulverized material and electrolyte to obtain the previous raw materials graphite, manganese, nickel, cobalt and lithium from the crushed material. These materials are again put into the reproduction of motor batteries, which are known to be able to recycle 96% of all battery components.

The Fraunhofer Institute, a government-funded research institute in Germany, crushes lithium-ion batteries with electrohydraulic grinders that generate shock waves that can separate the individual components of a cell. Chemically active substances in this way can be directly re-injected, unlike individual components. In addition, the lab is also developing its own recycling process to recycle alternative battery technologies such as lithium-sulfur batteries and lithium-based solid-state batteries.

China, which has emerged as the world’s largest electric car market, surpassing the US and Europe in 2016, will be exploded in 2016 as an electric car battery changer. According to the China Automobile Technology Research Center, China’s waste batteries are expected to reach 200,000 tons this year, and 350,000 tons by 2025.

In order to manage the recovery and recycling of hundreds of thousands of tons of waste batteries, the Chinese government has been making various efforts, including pilot projects and suggesting guidelines, two years ago. 17 provincial provinces including Shaanxi, Shanghai, etc. were designated as pilot areas, and a recycling center was established in each region, and a system that could be recovered and reused in cooperation with battery manufacturers, used car dealers, and waste companies.

According to the China Battery Federation, the waste battery recycling industry is expected to reach about 6.5 billion yuan this year.

Japan is also interested in recycling electric vehicle batteries as the biggest issue at the International Secondary Battery Exhibition held in March last year. Nissan Motor, which established a factory to reuse electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries in Fukushima Prefecture in March 2018, is re-selling batteries for electric vehicle batteries after improving the batteries that have fallen below 80%. Toyota has also introduced a scheme to use hybrid used batteries as an auxiliary power source for convenience stores, while also extracting metal raw materials from waste batteries and recycling them in various industrial fields.

Korea recently announced that the Ministry of Environment will establish criteria for evaluating the remaining value and stability of waste batteries so that they can preempt waste battery recycling standards that do not have world standards. In addition, Naju-si, Jeollanam-do, plans to build a battery recycling center with a total of 22.3 billion won, and Pohang also has a pact to invest 100 billion won in the battery reuse industry by 2022.

Fraunhofer estimates that in the United States alone, about 500 million lithium-ion batteries should be disposed of by this year. In Korea, about 10,000 environmentally friendly waste batteries will be produced by 2024, and the total cumulative generation of waste batteries is expected to increase to about 2.45 million by 2040.

Navigant Research, a market researcher, predicts that if the used battery business is gradually activated, the market size will expand to US $ 3 billion by 2035.

Reviewer overview

Waste Battery Recycling Technology to Prevent Environmental Pollution - /10

Summary

With the rise of electric vehicles, the recycling of old batteries is attracting attention as a new technology with high growth potential.

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