There has been an increasing awareness to reduce emissions caused by diesel and gasoline vehicles. Companies in the automotive segment have been making efforts to address this issue and now more than ever there is a shift towards a new kind of vehicle, which are known as electric vehicles or EVs.
These electric vehicles are equipped with lithium-ion batteries, which help reduce emissions and dependency on fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel. With an improved fuel economy and reduced emissions these are just examples of the many reasons that have contributed to the growing sales of these vehicles in recent years. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global sales for these EVs will reach 245 million cars by 2030. Various studies suggest that electric vehicles will help meet climate change goals and support sustainability effort by many organizations.
Having said that, does it mean the users of these vehicles don’t have any concerns? Well, the key concern is managing spent lithium-ion batteries in these vehicles at their end-of-life. If there are 245 million cars in use, there will be an estimated, more than 11 million tons of spent batteries. How to handle them? Do these batteries pose any potential dangers? Read this post to know these answers and more.
Importance of Recycling EV Batteries (Lithium-ion Batteries)
In an electric vehicle battery, a cathode is a terminal through which electric current flows out of a polarized electrical device. Nickel and cobalt are two important cathode metals used in EV batteries. Cathode material can contribute to a significant amount of the battery weight. These materials are high in demand, and they can all be recycled and reused to make new batteries while reducing the need for virgin mining.
- Mining of metals used in EV batteries is an energy-intensive process, and can emit sulfur oxide, which can produce acid rain. Thus, recycling will help lower the environmental harm caused due to mining.
- Decreased reliance on virgin materials will mean slow depletion of raw materials from the earth’s surface, materials that won’t last forever.
- Nickel, cobalt, manganese, and lithium could leak from EV batteries if disposed of improperly. These metals can contaminate water, soil, and ecosystems.
Having known the importance of recycling lithium batteries, you need to be careful when sending them for recycling. The following section discusses the importance of handling these batteries safely while sending them for recycling.
How to Handle Damaged EV Batteries Safely?
Due to the sensitive nature of the chemistries in these batteries, they must be handled carefully. They are often charged at high voltages, which could increase the risk factor. Adding to that, these batteries can led to events such as fire if they are damaged, punctured, or improperly managed.
We recycle EV batteries from all different sources from fleets, to businesses and even households. There are different processes for recycling EV batteries depending on if you’re a household recycling or a business. If you’re a household looking to recycle your end-of-life EV battery, contact us here for more information.
If recycling a bulk amount of end-of-life EV batteries here are certain tips to follow to store your lithium-ion batteries before recycling them.
- First, remove the battery from the vehicle. Only use trained professionals to remove batteries from cars.
- Store EV batteries in specially designed battery recycling containers.
- Once in storage, keep batteries away from areas with high heat or large degree of fluctuating temperatures.
- Always work with certified EV battery recycling companies as they will guide you through the safe storage of these batteries.
As mentioned, storing damaged EV batteries in specially designed battery recycling boxes or containers is one of the effective ways to avoid accidents or fire risks caused by them. Therefore, it is essential to source these boxes from trusted teams, such as Battery Solutions. The company provides specialized damaged battery kits that comply with DOT guidelines for handling, packaging, and transportation of damaged, defective, or recalled (DDR) lithium batteries for disposal. You can get in touch with the team at Battery Solutions to choose the suitable battery disposal kit for EV lithium-ion batteries.
Iea. (2020). Global EV Outlook 2020 – analysis. IEA. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2020