"Growth in Battery Recycling": PEM Seeks Partners for Follow-Up Projects

18/11/2022

Companies from the battery recycling sector have jointly identified key success factors and challenges for an efficient recycling economy. The results are part of the six-month consortium study "Growth in Battery Recycling" by the chair "Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components" (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University and the engineering service provider PEM Motion. Based on the findings, the RWTH institution now wants to develop concrete solutions for efficient recycling of electric vehicle batteries and find suitable partners from industry for this purpose.

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According to the participants in the previous study, battery recycling facilities will need to be flexible in the future to accommodate rapid market developments in battery design and cell chemistries. At the same time, battery recyclers expect to face economic, strategic and technical challenges, such as fluctuating prices of raw materials, uncertain volume of returned batteries, and lack of quality characteristics of the recyclate.

No standardized recycling chain thus far

Currently, different processes exist for recycling, which in turn can be divided into different technologies such as wet shredding and dry shredding. "The industry combines these processes and technologies in different ways," says PEM expert Natalia Soldan: "So far, there is no standardized recycling chain." Its design depends on the input to the recycling plant, the desired end product and the targeted efficiency. "It is becoming increasingly important that materials are recovered sustainably," Soldan says. Until the end of the 2020s, it will still be production waste that accounts for the largest share of battery recycling volume. By 2030 at the latest, traction battery recycling will account for the larger volume. "Both are a challenge because current process chains are still optimized for recycling individual device batteries from laptops and cell phones, for example, and therefore still have to be designed to meet the new requirements," says Soldan.

Nine industry partners collaborate on initial study

Participating in the "Growth in Battery Recycling" study were Neuman & Esser Group, EDF Renewables Deutschland GmbH, ILF Consulting Engineers Austria GmbH, Fortech Circular, MVI ProPlant Nord, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, EA Elektro-Automatik GmbH & Co. KG, Duesenfeld, and Arthur D. Little.

Follow-up projects in different subject areas

Follow-up projects, again with industry partners, will focus on evaluating the sustainability of various recycling processes, as well as raw material availability and their production, a "second life" market analysis and a business case assessment, the dismantling of battery systems compared to mechanical recycling, wet shredding and dry shredding, the development of definitions and quality characteristics for black mass, the consortium study "Dismantling" as well as so-called "Re-X" strategies, and market analyses.

Potential partners may apply informally

Interested parties for one or more of the follow-up projects can contact n.soldan@pem.rwth-aachen.de by e-mail.