Time to Change the Batteries

Msw Jr Blog

Many different industries use lithium-ion batteries. As more applications for these types of batteries are discovered, it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure that they are properly recycled or reused. The company Panasonic Corp. has recently found a solution for battery management—electrochemical impedance spectroscopy—which makes it possible to determine batteries’ residual value. Because it’s a non-destructive process, the batteries can then be reused if possible, or appropriately recycled. 

“We believe that residual value evaluation and end-of-life determination are important for battery reuse,” said a representative from Panasonic, according to an article published last month. 

I previously wrote about the dangers of improperly-disposed-of batteries, especially for those who manage or work at a landfill, in a blog postResidual charge in a defunct battery can lead to a spark if the battery comes into contact with metal, such as the side of a garbage truck. And this spark can easily set off a fire, especially if it’s at a recycling facility mixed in with materials like paper. 

Although Li-ion batteries are not new—they were developed in the 1970s and ‘80s, and commercialized in the ‘90s—we don’t have the infrastructure or capacity yet to properly recycle the amount of batteries that will soon be reaching the end of their life cycle. 

A battery manufacturer in Europe, Northvolt, recently launched a program dedicated to recycling Li-ion batteries. The program, called Revolt, aims to have its initial recycling plant up and running this year in Sweden, next to a manufacturing plant owned by Northvolt Labs. Its initial recycling capacity goal is 100 tons per year. 

According to Chief Environmental Officer Emma Nehrenheim, “Revolt opens up a very exciting chapter for Northvolt and will demonstrate how the environmental benefits of batteries can be pushed even further than we currently see with their use to replace fossil-fuels. For the customers, this also means we are able to offer assurance and services for sustainable handling of end-of-life batteries they are bound to by European law. 

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