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Electric Vehicle Batteries - A 10 Year Time-Bomb ?


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EV batteries are larger and heavier than those in regular cars and are made up of several hundred individual lithium-ion cells, all of which need dismantling. They contain hazardous materials, and have an inconvenient tendency to explode if disassembled incorrectly.

"Currently, globally, it's very hard to get detailed figures for what percentage of lithium-ion batteries are recycled, but the value everyone quotes is about 5%," says Dr Anderson. "In some parts of the world it's considerably less."

What is to happen when the batteries wear out ?

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56574779

Edited by studiot
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  • studiot changed the title to Electric Vehicle Batteries - A 10 Year Time-Bomb ?

The "several hundred" is actually several thousand. A Tesla model S has 7104 cells. The other possible problem is the risk investing in large-scale recycling  if the battery technology changes.

Edited by StringJunky
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27 minutes ago, studiot said:

What is to happen when the batteries wear out ?

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56574779

This looks like a case for early legislation, mandating that manufacturers take back expired batteries for recycling.

From the article, the technology to do it does exist, so there is no need for it to be like nuclear waste that has to be just put in a hole in the ground. But it will be costly and nobody commercial will do it just out of the goodness of their hearts, so legislation must be the way to go, I think. 

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Some manufacturers like Tesla already include provisions for taking back batteries for recycling/disposal in the purchase price. It is a serious consideration but I don't think it is being neglected. I fully expect more and better recycling and safe disposal

Also I think we need some perspective - projections for battery waste for Australia indicate a rise to above 100,000 metric tons per year by 2050. Not sure what global projections are. It is also projected that by then most of that waste will be recycled. I am inclined to think that the quantities of battery waste is an underestimate, but by comparison coal burning in Australia currently produces 12.5 million metric tons per year of heavy metals contaminated and chemically reactive coal ash. Then there is CO2, which exceeds all other waste more than 5 times over. In Australia, 20 times more of that than coal ash waste, which is a lot, lot more than we expect from battery waste.

Yes, battery and other RE waste needs to be dealt with but the shift to RE will greatly reduce overall amounts of toxic waste.

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