Reuse And Recycling Of Electric Vehicle  Batteries

Electric vehicles (EVs) have gained popularity as an environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Electric vehicles (EVs) are beginning to pick up pace in the market, with global sales rising from 17,000 in 2010 to 8.5 million by 2020 and maybe 145 million by 2030. Also, the amount of used batteries from electric vehicles is likely to increase in the near future, owing to the growing popularity of electric and hybrid cars. Though as electric vehicle sales rise, the number of used batteries that are discharged from EVs rises as well. Instead of being wasted, used batteries are valuable reusable resources. Let’s have a look at how used batteries can be reused or recycled. 

An Overview Of Electric Vehicle Batteries

n Overview Of Electric Vehicle Batteries

Lithium-ion cells are commonly used in EV batteries. A cathode, anode, electrolyte, and separator are all components of each cell. Hundreds or thousands of individual cells are grouped and attached with each other in series and/or parallel to form modules, which are then combined to form a battery pack. The high power-to-weight ratio, specific energy, and energy density of electric vehicle batteries characterize them. Small, lighter batteries are preferred since they reduce the weight of an electric vehicle and thus improve performance. Highly active battery technologies as compared to liquid fuels, have a substantially lower specific energy, which has a considerable impact on the vehicle’s maximal all-electric range. The amount of energy stored in batteries is measured in ampere hours or coulombs, with the total amount of energy measured in kilowatt-hours. 

The current generation of electric vehicle battery packs is expected to last for at least ten years. They begin to degrade over time as they charge and discharge. However, they can remain to be used elsewhere if they become inappropriate for propelling a car or if the vehicle they’re in is no longer in service. EV batteries, in particular, are thought to be around 70% full at the moment. Experts predict that by 2030, EV lithium-ion battery installed capacity will be 8,100 gigawatt-hours (GWh), accounting for 77 percent of all the lithium-ion battery capacity, with roughly 314 GWh in EVs at its end of life. As a result, reusing and recycling it before they reach the end of their complete operating life and might provide additional value respectively. 

First, Reusing Electric Vehicle Batteries

First, Reusing Electric Vehicle Batteries

The term “reuse” refers to the battery being used for another purpose. The “reuse” method is commonly used if the used battery still has some charging performance and can be put to other uses. It is disassembled and the materials extracted to be “recycled” if the charging performance is severely decreased to the point that it can no longer operate as a battery. By 2030, the amount of EV batteries that may be reused is expected to exceed 100 GWh per year, with some estimates as high as 145 GWh. These batteries have a wide range of second-life applications. Direct reuse is one of the more basic options, in which batteries are collected from insurance write-offs and examined and tested to ensure that they are functional before being resold as replacements in any other Electric Vehicles. This approach is analogous to the market for internal combustion engine powertrain equipment that already exists.

Other options include used batteries to replace conventional grid-connected combustion turbine peaker plants for peak-shaving and as grid-scale solar storage. Battery reuse is expected to last at least ten years in these applications. There have already been several attempts to use second-life batteries as grid-scale storage. Nissan built a 16-battery reuse project beside a solar farm in 2014, while BMW began deploying used EV batteries in a demand response experiment with Pacific Gas & Electric in 2015. GM, BMW, and BYD are now also exploring repurposing their batteries to power homes, stores, and car charging stations.

Then, Recycling Electric Vehicle Batteries

Then, Recycling Electric Vehicle Batteries

Batteries will ultimately reach the point where they are no longer viable for any task after its re-use. This is the point at which they must be recycled. Due to the limited quantity of available batteries, battery recycling has been slower to take off; nevertheless, with the expected growth of electric vehicles, recycling infrastructure, centers, and practices will continue to be required. Just a few recycling methods are presently in use, while others are being developed and tested. The main two processes now in use are pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy. They are made up of mechanical and chemical separation phases that can be combined with high heat or chemicals. The cathode elements of a battery, such as cobalt, nickel, aluminum, iron, and lithium, are usually the focus for these procedures.

reuse ev

Submerging battery components in acid pools and then refining the pools to extract the metals is known as hydrometallurgy. Hydrometallurgy can produce materials that are difficult to obtain using burning, but it does so with the use of hazardous chemicals that are dangerous to human health and the environment. Separating the metals from the acid bath is difficult with current technologies, but new approaches are being investigated. 

Pyrometallurgy involves shredding battery cells mechanically and afterwards incinerating them, leaving a mass of polymers, metals, and glues utilized in battery manufacture.  The rare metals are subsequently extracted using a variety of methods. Pyrometallurgy is typically used to extract precious metals, whereas others, such as lithium, are left as slag and marketed as a concrete component. Pyrometallurgy does not necessitate the recycler’s knowledge of the battery’s design, composition, or level of charge, but it is energy demanding. 

Direct recycling, which lets recyclers retain the cathode materials intact, is another method for recycling. The electrolyte is vacuumed away, and the battery cells are shredded as a result of this procedure. Direct recycling has been concentrated on single cells, yielding modest yields of cathode chemistries, however a recycling technique that uses supercritical carbon dioxide has been discovered to be more efficient, recycling practically all battery components.


The electric vehicle (EV) market is rapidly expanding, and batteries will play a critical role in helping to transition to a far more ecologically friendly method of transportation. Although the second-life battery reusing industry is a high-value intermediary stage before recycling, their success hinges on handling the battery’s first and subsequent usage comprehensively. EVs would shortly be an important component of the renewable energy supply chain as the battery reuse and recycling industry gets closer.

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Written by Ishan Mishra

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