The problem of recycling electric vehicle batteries from a BMW perspective

Posted by kachalo on 27 ноября, 2021 in devaporate | Short Link

The headline is initially provocative, since the «disposal problem» is only in the minds of those who do not know anything about this topic and do not understand. But at

And this is how the topic finds its solutions from the point of view of the Bavarian automakers.

In a previous article, I talked about the company’s plans after opening a modernized factory in Munich. 7 million EVs by 2030 is not really that many compared to #volkswagen or #tesla

But this is still a large number, and since it will include both pure battery electric cars and hybrids (the BMW Group plans to expand its range of electric vehicles to 25 models by 2023, more than half of which should be fully electric models), this means a significant production of battery packs. And it also means that in a few years, in about 10 years, these batteries will need to be replaced on the car. And what will happen to them, with these batteries, then?

It is naive to assume that the companies, which are now producing electric vehicles, do not think what will happen to their battery assemblies in the future. And BMW in particular has a solution.

Again, you learned from the last article that in order to «green» the energy balance of its production, the company is beginning to actively use renewable energy — the sun and wind. Naturally, the structure of these power plants should contain massive energy storage units, consisting of the same assemblies of lithium batteries.

Why produce

And BMW is now developing and creating similar storage devices in which car batteries get their «second life».

The BMW Group is doing this in collaboration with Swedish battery manufacturer #northvolt and Belgian battery materials developer #umicore.

Together, the partners of this consortium are working to create a fully sustainable battery cell value chain in Europe, spanning all aspects from design and production to recycling.

From 2024 Northvolt will produce

The chemistry and components of the cells themselves will be critical to ensure that raw materials are reused as fully as possible and that they complete their physical cycle as demand for battery cells grows. And here, too, partner companies are closely cooperating.

Also, in collaboration with recycling specialist Duesenfeld, the BMW Group has developed a process that is 96 percent recyclable, including graphite and electrolyte.

BMW Group

When a car reaches the end of its life cycle, or an accident occurs without the possibility of rebuilding the body, the lithium-ion battery inside the battery assembly is far from ready to be sent for recycling.

In fact, battery packs can still be used for quite some time. Removed from the car, according to laboratory tests of the German automobile club ADAC, they can be used to create a stationary energy storage, the service life of which will be equal to another 10-12 years! That is, having worked on the car for about 10 years, the batteries can work at least as much with a new working role, in the SNE.

And you need to understand that when working on a car, the battery is exposed to high charging currents, frequent discharges, up to zero, possible overheating or vice versa freezing (anything can be). Not quite optimal operating modes. But in the SNE all these «sinusoids» will not be, this is a place of quiet and calm work, with a smooth charge / discharge.

As the energy transition continues, the topic of temporary storage of energy continues to gain in importance.

The BMW Group believes that this sector will continue to evolve and significant demand is expected for short-term energy storage solutions, including to compensate for peaks in power grids. In addition, preparations are underway for the use of electric vehicles themselves as a temporary storage of energy — for the so-called «bidirectional charging».

One notable example of battery recycling is the battery farm at the BMW Group plant in Leipzig, where production is powered by wind and solar energy generated locally. However, renewable energy sources are not always available when needed, so temporary storage is required to maintain stable supplies. In Leipzig, this is provided with old batteries from former BMW i3 test vehicles. Batteries are plugged into the grid to help stabilize it. By storing excess electricity and transferring it to the grid when needed, the blocks act as buffers. By combining them with each other, they turn into large energy storage devices.

Another example can be found in Hamburg, where a 2-megawatt storage facility constructed from BMW i3 battery packs compensates for peaks in port networks.

But large storage systems are not the only solution for a «second life» of batteries. They can also be used as storage devices in private homes, since a power of only 20 kWh will be more than enough to power the house, and even recharge an electric car.

Now all developers are trying to make a battery with a lower cobalt content, and with a greater possibility of almost 100% recycling at the final stage of its cycle.

Optimizing EV batteries for new EVs is a top priority in this regard. However, it’s not about size, it’s about technology, or rather efficiency.

The range (range per charge) of electric vehicles in the region of 600 km is now becoming the standard, and there is a tendency to increase this indicator. At the same time, the service life of a car battery largely depends on the behavior of the driver, for example, frequent use of fast chargers increases the load on the batteries.

The ambient temperature during the operation of an electric vehicle also matters (but here it is not so important, because most motorists in Russia still do not live in the Arctic Circle, or in the deserts), the number of cycles, the level of discharge and the age of the battery (regardless of use), are also factors that affect battery life.

Now

And at this stage, it takes about ten more years to completely exhaust the resource reserve of the battery cell.

The loop closed and started again. Nothing ended up on a roadside dump, polluting nature with products of decomposition and decay.

As the saying goes: it is clean not only where they clean, but also where they do not litter.

electric car


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