Researching the features and operation of an electric or hybrid car is essential, especially if you plan to invest in one. However, it is also essential to know what happens to them and their pieces, once they reach their lifespan. Starting by discovering how an electric car battery is recycled.
The electric car or the hybrid have proven to be two good options to replace the conventional car. Both enhance the experience for drivers; they are friendlier by not generating emissions; they save energy and use electric batteries.
However, one of the disadvantages that this type of car could have is that the battery must be replaced every seven or 10 years and knowing how and where to dispose of it can seem a bit complicated because they contain toxic chemicals that cannot be left in either side and represent an environmental hazard.
Most of these batteries are lithium ion and can be found in other equipment, such as cameras, smartphones and even remote control toys.
A used battery can be used to hold energy and more.
Currently, it is estimated that only 5% of these batteries are recycled. This represents an environmental hazard because as the popularity of electric vehicles and other devices grows, it is estimated that about 11 million tons of batteries will accumulate between 2021 and 2030.
To avoid this, the automotive industry is looking for ways to recycle and reuse them in such a way that it is also possible to reduce the additional extraction of resources for their production, promoting an environmental and labor improvement for the collaborators in charge of their production.
In places like China and the European Union, electric vehicle owners are required by law to recycle and / or reuse their batteries, and experts hope that the United States will soon implement similar policies.
How to Recycle an Electric Car Battery?
According to the portal The Guardian, although electric car batteries are not suitable to power an electric vehicle after seven to 10 years of use, they still contain around 70% of their capacity when they are removed, which allows them to can be reused in a number of creative ways.
In recent years, several companies have sprung up to help consumers and teach them how to recycle an electric car battery. Others are still developing new technologies to improve existing recycling processes.
One of these success stories is the company Li-Cycle, a company based in Canada, which uses advanced recycling technologies and can recover up to 100% of lithium from lithium-ion batteries. A sustainable process that helps to take advantage of all the useful elements of a battery.
Other companies such as California-based Redwood Materials and Retriev Technologies are tasked with evaluating their materials for proper handling and recycling, while Oregon-based OnTo Technology is also pioneering advanced battery recycling processes.
In the case of large auto companies, they are using used batteries to provide new services. In Japan, one of these companies uses them to power streetlights or power elevators, they even serve to store solar energy and support traditional electrical networks.
Companies like UK-based Powervault and Australia-based Aceleron have created technologies that can turn batteries into household electricity storage units, electric bike batteries and other useful tools.
All these processes are of great help to know how to recycle an electric car battery. However, the circular economy model can also play an important role.
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Four Easy Steps to Recycle your Car Battery
Traditional batteries contain 64% lead and lead compounds, a substance that when decomposed can cause serious damage to health, especially in the respiratory tract and brain tissues, as well as being highly polluting. Recycling it responsibly is simple and necessary, do you know how to recycle yours?
According to Ecoportal, in Latin America less than 15% of the garbage that we produce is recycled, figures that are too low. Fortunately, the culture of recycling is beginning to become popular, especially among the youngest, who are increasingly aware of the great importance of recycling the waste we produce.
Do not be left behind and help the environment by recycling your car battery , whose components are highly polluting. Furthermore, lead is almost 100% recyclable and batteries made from this material can even be used to produce solar energy .
Follow these simple steps to recycle your lead battery responsibly:
1 MAKE SURE THE BATTERY IS TOTALLY UNUSABLE
It is important to be absolutely sure that the battery life has come to an end, as sometimes it only suffers a discharge and can still be used for a while longer. Under ideal circumstances, the average life of a battery is 4 or 5 years, although it is normal for it to last 2 or 3 years.
If your battery fails and you cannot start your car, take it to a specialized center to check its condition and recharge your battery . If you need to repeat this operation several times in a short time, or you feel that your battery does not respond correctly, it may be time to buy a new one.
Some battery manufacturers include , between electrode and electrode, a pilot with a green light that changes color, passing through yellow and red, as the useful life of the battery is coming to an end, an easy way to know when you have to replace it.
And one last tip, if you notice that your battery is “inflated” , that it shows a swelling, take your car to the mechanic so that he can replace it safely, because in these conditions its handling is dangerous because it may be releasing the liquid it contains (which is very toxic and can damage your skin) or even explode.
2 CLOSE TO A RECYCLING PLANT
According to the Swedish company Tetra Pak, there are about 65 recycling plants that recycle the waste we produce in a clean and environmentally responsible way. In them you can deposit your used battery so that it is recycled in the correct way.
3. CHECK WITH YOUR MANUFACTURER
In case you do not have a recycling plant nearby, battery manufacturers usually offer a collection service at your home or collection points . If in doubt, check with your battery manufacturer if they have this service. In addition, it is normal for any workshop or car center to collect used batteries. What you should never do is store it in your home or leave it within the reach of minors since its components are highly harmful to health.
4. REQUEST A CERTIFICATE OF FINAL DISPOSAL
Since you have taken the trouble to recycle your battery, make sure that the point where you deliver your used battery correctly handles these types of highly polluting products. Request a final disposal certificate, with it the company or collection point demonstrates that it performs an appropriate management of these hazardous waste for the protection of the environment and human health.
Eco-friendly method of recycling EV batteries
The Circular Economy Does Help
Experts say that as the electric vehicle market grows, implementing best practices for battery recycling and reuse can become a hot topic for car owners and everyone involved.
It is estimated that the number of electric vehicles exceeded 3 million for the first time in history during 2017 but in the next two decades, electric vehicles will be ready to exploit the market in a larger way with a maximum of 559 million vehicles electric vehicles expected to be on the road by 2040 or about a third of all cars.
So focusing efforts on creating vehicles and automotive parts that are designed under a circular economy model will be essential. This business model allows companies that their products can be manufactured in such a way that at the end of their life cycle, they can be re-integrated into the chain to create something new and useful. The circular economy can also help make more use of resources and waste less.
Sharing information on how an electric car battery is recycled will also be essential for people to know every corner of their vehicles. However, brands will need to pay more attention to creating more programs to recycle batteries, especially since as vehicle production increases they will begin to pose a significant challenge.
“What to do with used EV batteries as vehicle production increases is certainly a major challenge, but it also presents an unprecedented opportunity for manufacturers and governments to work together to achieve cleaner technology not just for cars, but the entire electrical grid, ”says Rikki Gibson, a partner at FleetCarma.
What if There is No Way to Recycle?
When batteries reach the point that they can no longer be reused or one of the cells has degraded so much that it cannot hold a charge or was damaged by an accident, it is ideal to act before contents such as lead, cobalt or chrome are exposed.
Companies, like Retriev Technologies, specialize in battery recycling. To do this, they mechanically shred the battery cells and then melt them to separate the most valuable materials inside. That process consumes more energy than cell reuse and is therefore more wasteful but prevents entire batteries from being dumped into a landfill.
The Bloomerg portal points out that the cost of batteries will decrease substantially to $ 73 per kilowatt-hour by 2030. This decrease is due to increased production and lower-cost materials. While this is good news for consumers buying electric cars, it takes away some of the incentive to dispose of battery packs responsibly.
However, the participation of companies to create recycling systems is increasing and once they begin to work it is likely that the environmental problem caused by batteries will begin to diminish.