As the electric revolution is making headway unabated, manufacturers are thinking about what to do with their electric vehicle batteries when the devices reach the end of the road. This is an important consideration given that lithium-ion batteries require a lot of materials, many of which are rare and energy-intensive to mine.
With that in mind, car manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) has just opened a recycling plant, where it hopes to recover valuable materials from used-up batteries and give them a second life by building new batteries out of them.
At the recycling plant, opened in Salzgitter, Germany, batteries that have reached the end of their life will be deep discharged and dismantled completely, with the individual components to be ground down into granules and dried. According to VW, this process will yield the raw materials required for producing new batteries, such as copper, aluminum, lithium, manganese, cobalt, and graphite.
“From research, we know that recycled battery raw materials are just as efficient as new ones,” explains Mark Möller, Head of the Business Unit Technical Development & E-Mobility. “In the future, we intend to support our battery cell production with the material we recover. Given that the demand for batteries and the corresponding raw materials will increase drastically, we can put every gram of recycled material to good use.”