Currently reading: Battery technology firm warns of looming EV waste problem
Report suggests repurposing end-of-life batteries is necessary to prevent dangerous levels of waste
Felix Page Autocar writer
News
2 mins read
26 March 2020

The UK could soon have a significant EV battery waste problem on its hands, according to battery recycling specialist Aceleron.

The Birmingham-based company, which calls itself a 'circle-economy battery developer', anticipates that “the EV revolution could create more than 11 million tonnes of battery waste worldwide a year in the next 20 years - enough to fill Wembley Stadium almost 20 times”. 

The solution, claims Aceleron, is for battery production to operate on a circular model that ensures minimal wastage and preserves valuable resources.

“By designing batteries for the circular economy from the outset, we can prevent mountains of battery waste from being created worldwide,” said CEO Dr Amrit Chandan. “The decarbonisation of transport is critical, but we are currently solving one sustainability issue while ignoring another. Waste is the elephant in the room."

To this end, Aceleron builds long-life battery packs that are designed to be repaired and reused, which means they can be given a ‘second life’, unlike conventional units. They are equipped with intelligent management software, which means their performance can be monitored remotely and individual components can be replaced when necessary.

The company has signed a new deal to supply electric ATV manufacturer Eco Charger with bespoke lithium ion power packs, of which it plans to repurpose more than 90%. The same size as traditional lead acid units, Eco Charger’s batteries are claimed to be four times more powerful and weigh half as much as a standard battery.

Reports of a looming waste battery problem are seen by some as heavily exaggerated, however. Earlier this year, Alan Colledge, senior manager at recycling firm Cawleys Hazardous Services, told Autocar sister magazine CAT: “The overall picture is positive, and it’s alarmist, unhelpful and untrue to say that we face a potential electric vehicle battery mountain in the UK.

"We should be confident that electric vehicles can be recycled well and not let concerns about battery mountains spook the market on the consumer or trade side.”

Colledge's comments came following the release of a University of Birmingham survey that claimed: “Recycling technologies for end-of-life lithium ion batteries are not keeping pace with the rapid rise of electric vehicles." 

Various vehicle manufacturers have explored ways of recycling EV batteries. In 2017, Renault unveiled a plan to convert expired units into home energy storage systems, while 500 BMW i3 battery packs have been used to store energy from a wind farm in South Wales. 

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17

26 March 2020
Tahnks for the article i agree mostly with the need of recycling but there is a fews mistake in the article :

1) All Battery Management System monitor each cell individually

2) Already with the first leaf you could repair only one cell and for the Zoe which you can't open the pack there is a center un France that have the accreditation to open and fix them to offer refurbish pack

26 March 2020
It came out the ground - it can go back into the ground.

26 March 2020
Cobnapint wrote:

It came out the ground - it can go back into the ground.

LMAO!!!

Not sure it is in quite the same form after it's been refined and manufactured!

Anyway, hydrogen will solve this.  It's won't be fixed overnight - there will be a lengthy transition and batteries and recycling / repurposing will be very important during this period - but thankfully huge quantities of waste batteries is not a long-term problem.  And in comparison to current difficulties hardly a problem at all. 

26 March 2020

Does the recycling company take in to accound that the batterys are being sold online for solar batttery storage .one nissan leaf gen 2 module cost 275 pounds. all make are also starting to come  .at the moment i am using lead acid battery for the house lights charged by 40 watt solar and 350watt wind .

26 March 2020

Who would have thought it, these "green" vehicles not being that "green" at all?!

.....have you ever seen a lithium mine? - Not remotely green.

The first generation of BEVs have had little-to-no thought put into a sustainable end of life plan - there are masses of vehicles out there who's batteries are a disaster waiting to happen.

What's the solution? - Build millions more without forcing manufacturers to stop and think through a responsible end of life plan.

Ludicrous!

26 March 2020

Lithium mining is done via a brine and then evaporation - its a lot cleaner than you think it is.  Have you been fooled by the picture of a copper mine previously going around the web and reported as a lithium mine?

When did fossil cars start to be concerned about "end of life" plans?  BEVs have got a far better plan than fossils ever did as their fuel is 98% recycleable.

26 March 2020
Rtfazeberdee wrote:

Lithium mining is done via a brine and then evaporation - its a lot cleaner than you think it is.  Have you been fooled by the picture of a copper mine previously going around the web and reported as a lithium mine?

When did fossil cars start to be concerned about "end of life" plans?  BEVs have got a far better plan than fossils ever did as their fuel is 98% recycleable.

Spot on Rtf...  nice to know someone knows, unlike some CarNuts

26 March 2020
Rtfazeberdee wrote:

Lithium mining is done via a brine and then evaporation - its a lot cleaner than you think it is.  Have you been fooled by the picture of a copper mine previously going around the web and reported as a lithium mine?

When did fossil cars start to be concerned about "end of life" plans?  BEVs have got a far better plan than fossils ever did as their fuel is 98% recycleable.

Yeah... nah.

That's lithium refining, not lithium mining.  And the brine is not as benign as the term suggests.  It's not a clean or sustainable supply chain.

26 March 2020

....how everyday posters on a motoring website have highlighted these kinds of EV issues years ago, yet only now are people involved with the whole life-cycle of EVs saying there might be problems so deserve some thought.

I hope EVs aren't another knee-jerk political reaction to addressing statistics and targets rather than actually helping the environment and health.

26 March 2020

 Many Moons ago man thought the planet was an endless, guilt free source of riches, food power, now, as we've become more connected we're using the Earths resources Ev ever faster, something has got to give, we're seeing with climate change more viruses that immune to today's drugs, recognising that there might be a Battery Moutain so to speak now is a good thing.

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