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Second life for lithium-ion batteries

Batx Energies is piloting so-called second-life applications for batteries where the EV batteries are used for stationary energy storage after they are no longer fit for their original purpose. Batx Energies was founded with the vision to help solve the global end-of-lifecycle lithium-ion battery problem and to create a secondary supply to meet the demand for critical battery materials through innovative recycling technology. After a decade or more of use, a lithium-ion battery is no longer suitable for its original purpose. The battery often still retains enough capacity to serve in so-called second-life functions, such as stationary power storages in the wind or solar power plants. We are currently piloting several second-life solutions for used batteries. In India, we are developing a leasing system whereby auto-rickshaw owners return their used batteries to us for recharging and receive a full battery in return.

Recycling of lithium-ion battery materials is the key for growth in electric transportation

In the future, battery components will not be sourced solely from mining; they will have to come from recycling and from applications utilizing industrial side streams. The ability to recover these materials will drive the increase in electric vehicles.

By 2040, an estimated 559 million electric vehicles will be on the road worldwide. Furthermore, the capacity of global lithium-ion battery energy storage installations is projected to skyrocket over 50 times during that same time. In 2020, there will be an estimated 155,100 tonnes of lithium-ion reaching their end of life globally; this number is estimated to jump to 3.7 million tonnes by 2030. But what will happen to all these batteries when reaching the end of their lives?

Historically, lithium-ion batteries have predominantly been treated as waste and not as a resource when they reach end-of-life. That’s a lost opportunity because there is a lot of value in the critical materials that can be recovered from these batteries and reintroduced back into the battery supply chain using the right technology.

Batx Energies provides a solution to fill this gap through an innovative recycling and resource recovery process, capable of recovering battery-grade materials including lithium, nickel, and cobalt.

To achieve a high recycling rate of 80% with a low-CO2 we use the hydrometallurgical recycling process. The lithium-ion batteries are first made safe for mechanical treatment, with plastics, aluminum, and copper separated and directed to their own recycling processes. And what is left of the battery after these processes are the chemical and mineral components, the ‘black mass’, and the ‘black mass’ can be treated on an industrial scale.

The black mass typically consists of a mixture of lithium, manganese, cobalt, and nickel in different ratios. Of these, nickel – and especially cobalt – are the most valuable and most difficult to recover. Most of today’s recycling solutions for EV batteries are not able to recover these valuable minerals.

The hydrometallurgical recycling process involves a chemical precipitation methodology that allows scarce minerals to be recovered and delivered to battery manufacturers for reuse in the production of new batteries.

End of life services for used lithium-ion batteries

When a lithium-ion battery reaches the end of its life, it requires expert handling that meets the safety requirements set by law. As a hazardous waste expert, we have the appropriate logistics networks for the safe transportation of lithium-ion batteries.

In order to fulfill this vision, Batx Energies has developed and validated, a unique and sustainable process for recycling all types of lithium-ion batteries used in electronic devices, electrified transport, electric passenger vehicles and energy storage.