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batteries that can be recycled without losing quality

Volkswagen, through its research consortium called “HVBatCycle”, has just given the green light to a project that will specialize in the recycling and reuse of batteries for electric cars.

This will focus on recover raw materials like the metals cathode, electrolyte and graphite, and will keep them in a closed circuit “to demonstrate that they can be reused several times without losing their properties.”

According to the brand, this project will be financed by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection of Germany and has among its objectives “to increase sustainability and secure supply”.

An environmental problem that needs an urgent solution

Battery Gloves

The project has a circular view of recycling processes and, therefore, seeks the application of closed-loop recycling of battery materials. And it is that in order to use less materials from sources such as mines or salt mines, “the essential raw materials for batteries must be able to be recovered not only once, but several times”.

To this end, battery cells made from recycled material can be recycled again, “which will show that even after multiple recycling cycles the quality of the material is not affected”, they say from Volkswagen.

Sebastian Wolf, Director of Battery Cell Operations at Volkswagen AG, said: “The recycling of batteries and production waste makes a decisive contribution to ensure the supply of raw materials for the planning of our factories”.

batteries

But closing the loop requires complex interdisciplinary processes: “it’s about scalability and profitability”. Thus, for efficient, ecological and economical recycling, “all processes must be coordinated with each other to produce high-quality monovarietal secondary materials with the highest safety requirements,” adds Wolf.

Thus, the consortium’s project focuses on the planning of “mechanical-hydrometallurgical” recycling, which demands low energy requirements and offers the possibility of a decentralized distribution in Europe. Alsothe whole process will be mechanized.

The number of battery gigafactories in Europe continues to grow, and it is expected that by 2030 there will be a total of 30 in operation, with a production capacity that will increase by 10 in just four years if the estimates are met.

Bateria2

Achieving a circular production process certainly would help reduce supply risks of raw materials, since at least within the EU the volume of recovered metals used in the manufacture of batteries for electric cars is still quite low.

Although the recycling plants are growing more or less at the same rate as the growth of the electric car, for the time being only 12% aluminum, 22% cobalt, 8% manganese and 16% of the nickel used in Europe to make batteries is recycled.

The “HVBatCycle” consortium is made up of the companies Tanobis, J. Schmalz and Viscom, which Since three years agocollaborate under the direction of Volkswagen with German institutions such as the RWTH University of Aachen, the Technical University of Braunschweig or the Fraunhofer Institute (IST) in the field of battery recycling.

His challenge is stratospheric and until now, it seems unfeasible on a large scale: to recycle as many battery components as possible, reuse them as many times as possible while maintaining their efficiency and minimize the environmental impact of the process, while economically viable and profitable.

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I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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