Researchers Devise a Cheaper Way to Recycle Electric Car Batteries

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are taking over the car market, giving rise to battery recycling solutions. A research article from the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has proposed a recycling solution that promises an easier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly recycling process.

Currently, most mainstream BEVs are powered Lithium-Ion batteries. A widely adopted method for recycling these batteries is a combination of thermal pretreatment and hydrometallurgy. The method also incorporates aqueous chemistry to extract useful metals.

The Swedish institute learned that the companies incorporate varying temperatures and treatment times to get favorable results. The subsequent comparative study by the institute identified the following ideal techniques to obtain the best results:

Temperature and Time

The study revealed that room temperature is sufficient to carry out the hydrometallurgical process. It claims that this method can greatly reduce the negative environmental impacts, lower the operational cost, and reduce process time as well.

According to Martina Petranikova, an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers:

To meet the huge need for battery recycling that is coming, the processes currently in use must be made as effective and efficient as possible, so this study offers invaluable knowledge for the manufacturers and operators of this technology. The methods we present can also be used to optimize the recycling of all kinds of lithium-ion batteries.

Overall Industry Development

The study associates battery recycling optimization with the recycling process improvements and the overall industry growth. Elaborating on this prospect, Petranikova stated that:

To reduce the costs, we need to cut the steps in the recycling process. We are working on several projects with that aim right now, and close collaborations and good communication between researchers and the developers of the technology will be extremely important for us to succeed with the challenges we face.

Various automakers are planning to create solid-state batteries for their EVs, in the interest of lowering the production costs and improving battery life. The experts reckon that once perfected, solid-state batteries can significantly enhance the EV powertrain and revolutionize the industry.