A new recycling method can process 7,000 tons of crushed EV batteries per year

As the popularity of electric cars grows explosively, so does the mountain of discarded lithium-ion batteries that once powered these vehicles. One way to combat this is to recycle; however, this is not yet a universally accepted practice due to technical constraints, economic barriers, logistical challenges and regulatory gaps. This includes the classic chicken and egg puzzle, which means that the recycling process is still far from perfect.

However, a company in Japan, Sumitomo Metal Mining, has now discovered a new method for efficient reuse of most components of discarded batteries. according to Nikkei Asia.

Sumitomo Metal has developed a process for the cheap extraction of copper, nickel, cobalt and lithium from EV batteries by crushing them, heating the resulting powder to appropriate temperatures and controlling oxygen levels.

The method, according to the company, is the first of its kind in the world.

For now, the company plans to supply small quantities of broken batteries and use the recovered materials for domestic cathode production, and says it is on track to extract materials comparable in quality to the alternatives obtained at a reasonable price and in commercial volumes.

The company wants to open a recycling plant in Japan by 2023, which will be able to process 7,000 tons of broken batteries each year, enough to extract 200 tons of cobalt from batteries with nickel-manganese-cobalt cathodes. This amount is enough for 20,000 EV. And as global demand for certain precious metals grows, this development can support Japan’s domestic supplies with these resources.

As the world shifts to greener technologies, there is a growing need to hire more recycled material in electric car batteriesas EV batteries usually lose about 30% of their capacity and need to be replaced after a decade. For example, the European Union proposed a law last year this will require electric vehicle batteries to contain a minimum of 12 percent recycled cobalt and 4 percent recycled lithium and nickel by 2030. And by adopting such methods, we could not only reduce the pollution created by the extraction of rare metals, but also reduce costs. for electric vehicles, which leads to a wider distribution of electricity.

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