Volkswagen has Opened a Plant for the Deep Processing of lithium-ion Batteries

Volkswagen has Opened a Plant for the Deep Processing of lithium-ion Batteries

In 2019, it was reported that the German automobile concern Volkswagen (Volkswagen, VW) began building a plant for the deep processing of lithium-ion batteries in Salzgitter, Germany.

On Friday, the automaker announced the launch of this pilot site.

The company says it uses a closed-loop process to recover valuable raw materials such as lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt from lithium-ion batteries. The goal is to ensure that these materials, as well as aluminum, copper and plastic, are 90 percent recyclable, which can then be reused to make new batteries.

The pilot plant that was built only recycles batteries that can no longer be used for any other purpose. That is, before recycling, an analysis is made whether the batteries are suitable for reuse in mobile storage systems, flexible fast-charging stations or mobile charging robots.

Large volumes of batteries that are good for nothing have reached the end of their life cycle, will not appear until the end of the decade, VW said. The pilot plant in Salzgitter can therefore recycle up to 3,600 battery packs annually. This corresponds to approximately 1500 tons. Further scaling is possible.

The developed processing process does not require energy-intensive melting. According to Volkswagen, supplied battery systems are first deeply discharged and disassembled. The individual parts are then crushed into granules, which are then dried. The separation and treatment of individual substances using hydrometallurgical processes – using water and chemicals – is carried out by specialized partners.

The recovered substances can then be used to produce new batteries. Research has shown that batteries made from recycled materials are just as effective as new ones. Thus, Volkswagen will support its own production of elements with remanufactured raw materials.

The new production will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the carbon footprint of electric vehicles. Volkswagen estimates that the reduction in CO2 emissions will be about 1.3 tons per 62-kilowatt-hour battery, which is produced using recycled cathodes and 100% green electricity.

“We are implementing an environmentally friendly recycling cycle and are thus industry pioneers in terms of climate protection and raw material supply,” said Thomas Schmall, Member of the Management Board of Volkswagen AG.

We have previously shown that lithium-ion battery factories are springing up like mushrooms in Europe after the rain.

Last year was a record year for sales of electric vehicles in the world, but particularly rapid growth was recorded in Europe. For example, Germany is ahead of the United States for the first time. With the growth of the fleet of these machines, the volume of used batteries will also grow. It is important that car manufacturers and waste management professionals address the challenges of battery recycling already at the current, early stage of market development.

Feel free to leave us your comment. It helps us understand what you like or don’t like.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.