Research says post-vehicle economic value can be reclaimed from li-ion batteries – study shows how remanufacturing, recycling, repurposing can work

by Derek Guest

Source: Digital Journal

July 1, 2014

Mineta National Transit Research Consortium study shows how remanufacturing, recycling, repurposing can work

Although electric and hybrid vehicles are gaining market share, one significant question remains. How can the used lithium-ion batteries be processed post-vehicle application? A new peer-reviewed Mineta National Transit Research Consortium report, "Remanufacturing, Repurposing, and Recycling of Post-Vehicle-Application Lithium-Ion Batteries", offers three possible alternatives. The study, conducted by Charles R. Standridge, PhD, and Lindsay Corneal, PhD, is ready for free download here.

"Lithium-ion batteries provide efficient energy storage," said Dr. Standridge. "Their use in vehicles will continue to expand, but we must deal with disposition once they fall below regulatory standards for use in on-road vehicles. To address that challenge, our studies have shown that many of these batteries may still hold a significant charge level and thus have additional economic value that can be reclaimed in one of three ways."

  • Remanufacturing for intended reuse in vehicles by replacing any damaged cells within the battery shows promise.
  • Repurposing could be accomplished by re-engineering a battery for a non-vehicle, stationary storage application.
  • Recycling would involve disassembling each battery cell and safely extracting the precious metals, chemicals and other byproducts to be sold on the commodities market or re-introduced into a battery manufacturing process.

Results from forecasting models show that by 2035, the number of available post-vehicle-application batteries will range from 1.376 million (conservative) to 6.759 million (optimistic), which is sufficient to justify remanufacturing, repurposing, and recycling efforts.

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