Lithium Ion batteries are among the most dangerous components in electronic recycling. Known to combust when damaged, LIBs have caused many fires in the industry and often result in a chain reaction, especially in battery recycling or other end-of-life facilities. Because of the chemical reaction that occurs, LIB fires are more difficult to extinguish, and are often a major concern when repairing used devices for remarketing purposes. However, a UK-based battery recycling facility just received equipment that will enable the company to test and grade batteries in order to determine whether to recycle or repurpose them.
Recyclus Group Ltd. recently received three lithium battery testbed systems that measure a range of battery chemistries of different sizes. According to Recycling Today, “the LIB testbeds give Recyclus the ability to test the effective capacity of battery packs from a range of electrical vehicle (EV) and industrial usages, as well as for degradation or damage at the cell level.” In addition, the testbeds will also measure other critical performance test criteria. With this ability, opportunities to feed energy back into the national grid become available in the future.
Technology Metal’s Chairman, Robin Brundle stated, “We are constantly exploring new avenues to expand under our circular economy strategy, and this represents a significant milestone for us in developing our capability for recycling and reuse of batteries, and our ability to harness otherwise wasted energy. Implementing these systems into our process will help to maximize the lifespan of batteries and minimize energy waste.”
Now that Recyclus is able to test batteries, they will also be able to grade them and access the market for reused batteries along with recycling. Batteries will be sorted into three categories, suitable for regular use as they are, defective and needs to be recycled, and a split group of retrievable and unretrievable cells. This creates opportunities for batteries to be repurposed depending on their condition.
With the projected growth of electric vehicles in the future, many end-of-life battery cells will be eligible for reuse, which represents market opportunities beyond recycling.
Jonathan Regan, Recyclus’s Senior Battery Engineer stated, “Developing this function will allow us to work with manufacturers to increase the amount of carbon offset from the batteries’ production by extending their working life through repurposing into alternative applications, supporting the transition to net-zero, and supporting future and current legislative targets.”