July 23, 2024

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Do EV batteries pollutes the environment? Are they recyclable?

Do EV batteries pollutes

Do EV batteries pollutes? Many people think that Electric Vehicles causes more pollution than IC Engines vehicles. They think the decomposition of batteries of EVs will pollute the environment. But they don’t have a clear idea about the battery decomposing or using it again, recycling it.

Do EV batteries pollute the environment? Are they recyclable?

As we are using the batteries, specifically lithium-ion battery (LIB) so there must be clear information given on recycling market which answers one of the questions of people’s doubt about the zero emission of electric vehicles.

 You will know everything about the lithium-ion battery recycling in this article and Do EV batteries pollutes? 

Mobile to EVs use of Lithium-Ion battery 

Right from the mobile to EVs the use of lithium-ion battery (LIB) is much today. When the life of the battery ends, the recycling process is not only just a thing but it becomes mandatory to keep the environment pollution free.

As the sales of EVs is growing each day, likewise if every vehicle sold in 2040 is plug-in then there will be around 2.5 million battery packs that have to be recycled.

Battery recycled used for power storage for domestic & commercial buildings 

Most of the lithium-ion batteries last around 10 years, after its dead. The battery can be still used in many ways such as re-using it as power storage for domestic and commercial buildings.

For example, Nissan leaf launched the largest power storage facility in Europe to use both new and used car batteries.

Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam 

Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, a stadium of Dutch capital city of Amsterdam uses 63-second hand EV battery packs and 85 new battery packs, which is used to 4,200 solar panels of the stadium roof.

It has the capacity to power the entire venue during the event for up to an hour, if it is compared to homes then the energy can be equivalent for 700,000. It acts as a generator that can back up the stadium’s energy supply.

Recycling process restores old lithium battery 

The simple recycling process restores old lithium battery cathodes to mint condition using half the energy of current processes. The lithium recycles can be done lithium cobalt oxide batteries used in batteries, laptops and smartphones, electric cars and other vehicles.

Lithium batteries have anodes made of graphite and cathodes made of lithium metal oxides, where the metal is some combination of cobalt, nickel, manganese, and iron. less than 5% of the battery is recycled today. There are many companies which are already into recycling the battery process. 

According to an ATZ report

According to an ATZ report 2018, the 33kWh Li-ion traction battery of the BMW i3 electric vehicle contains 2kg (4.4 lb) cobalt, 6kg (13 lb) lithium, 12kg (26 lb) manganese, 12kg (26 lb) nickel and 35kg (77 lb) graphite.

During the recycling process, we may not obtain every mineral but some of it can be regained that can be used in some less demanding purposes. Lithium is also used as a lubricant.

Battery Recycling process-Do EV batteries pollute 

The recycling process starts with the Li-ion batteries normally begins with deactivation which involves in a full discharge to remove the stored energy. During the crushing process, the electrolyte may also be frozen to prevent electrochemical reactions.

Duesenfeld patented a process that evaporates and recovers the organic solvents of the electrolyte in a vacuum by condensation. This process is said to not produce toxic exhaust gases.

According to NCBI, The recycling process includes

  • Mechanical,
  • Pyrometallurgical and
  • Hydrometallurgical treatments. 

Mechanical involves crushing the battery cells, pyrometallurgical extracts the metals by thermal treatment and hydrometallurgy involves aqueous processes.

Once it is disassembled, it separates the copper foil, aluminum foil, separator, and coating materials.

Nickel, cobalt, and copper can be recycled from the cast, but lithium and aluminum remain in the slag. A hydrometallurgical process is necessary to recover lithium.

The hydrometallurgical process to recover Lithium 

This includes leaching, extraction, crystallization, and precipitation from a liquid solution. Hydrometallurgical treatment is used to recover pure metals, e.g. lithium, gleaned from separated coating materials after mechanical processes or from slag in pyrometallurgical processes.

Umicore in  Belgium uses a furnace 

In Belgium, the Umicore uses a furnace to melt the batteries directly to recover 95% of cobalt, nickel, and copper.

Second-hand lithium used for glass, lubricants, 

After the furnace, Umicore uses a special gas washing process to clean the toxic incineration products from the fluorine which contains exhaust gases. Second-hand lithium is used for lubricants, glass, ceramics, and other applications. 

We have so many benefits before and after the life of the battery, so why to think more about it. It doesn’t pollute the environment if this process is brought into practice everywhere. The world will then become pollution free. 

With the above the information, I hope you got an idea about recycling batteries, so next time when someone tells you do pollute more than the conventional vehicles, you have an answer now. 

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About The Author

Mastered in Journalism and I am a dedicated writer for ElectricVehicles.in since 2018. I am an EV enthusiast. I love to write about electric vehicles, technology, startups, people, fashion, and trends. Through my writings, I love to contribute to my team's efforts to reduce the pollution levels in the world, especially from India.

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