Battery recycling in demand – survey: sustainability necessary

Released on 15.09. 2021

  • Battery recycling should increase – also because sustainability is an important purchase criterion. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte

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VW has just opened a research laboratory for battery cells, the development of new recycling processes is an important one Topic. Sustainability is becoming the central purchase criterion.

Braunschweig / Salzgitter (dpa) – the highest possible recycling percentage for batteries could become a decisive factor for the market breakthrough for electric cars in the coming years. This is suggested by advice from experts and the results of a survey.

“We have to see the battery as part of a closed cycle process,” said Matthias Ullrich from Volkswagen’s electrical and electronics development department at a conference in Braunschweig. In a pilot plant in Salzgitter, the group is investigating how the multiple recycling of cell modules, but also of materials from the battery housing such as aluminum, copper or plastics, can be implemented industrially.

Big plans

It is still a testb operation – in the medium term, however, large-scale battery recycling is expected. The goal is to achieve a recycling rate of 56 percent, says Ullrich: “We will have tons of material that comes from the Cars is coming back. ”

The Swedish mining company Eurobattery Minerals, which wants to extract more battery raw materials in Europe, presented a representative survey by the polling institute YouGov. Accordingly, sustainable production of e-car batteries is becoming an increasingly important criterion for many consumers. Of those surveyed considering buying or leasing an electric or hybrid car, more than half said (56 Percent) that the least possible environmentally harmful promotion of battery raw materials including good working conditions is important or very important to them. 35 Percent said they would accept higher prices for e-vehicles “if they can be sure that minerals and metals of the battery were produced sustainably ».

VW, Daimler and Opel want to build their own cell plants, BMW continues to rely on external suppliers for the time being. More green electricity must be provided so that large CO2 savings are actually possible through e-mobility. In addition, the extraction of battery resources such as lithium, cobalt, copper or nickel must be more gentle. According to the plans of various car manufacturers, “conflict minerals” from crisis areas, where the social conditions for mining are sometimes dramatic, are to be avoided – this is also one of the core goals of the new supply chain law.

The Head of the Battery Cells and Systems division at VW, Frank Blome, said of the current raw material procurement: “So far, this has mainly been under the control of our suppliers. But we’re getting more involved. And we want to make sure that everything complies with the rules. ” The solid-state battery, which VW teamed up with the US company Quantumscape to develop, will still need a while to be technically mature and in large numbers; «But we continue to invest. We believe that the solid cell will be somewhere between 2021 and 2030 will then come stronger. »

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