UK study to explore battery recycling and reuse opportunities
In September, six British companies will get underway with studies into the feasibility of recycling and reuse of batteries for low and ultra low carbon vehicles. The six firms – Axeon, Energy Cost Advisors Ltd, LiFeBATT Ltd, Narec, OXIS Energy Ltd and TRL will carry out seven studies between them (TRL will perform two studies) at a total cost of just over £670,000. It is anticipated the studies will take approximately 12 months to complete.
“The aim of the feasibility studies is to draw out innovative, market-focused UK research which has the potential to increase valuable battery life and enable cost- effective recycling, address concerns around the sustainable use and recovery of raw materials within automotive batteries and contribute to the development in the UK of an automotive battery recycling industry,” stated Andrew Everett, head of Transport at the Technology Strategy Board.
The lion’s share of the studies’ total cost, almost £500,000, has been provided by the Technology Strategy Board, a business-led government body that aims to create economic growth in Britain through innovation. The balance of the cost will be funded by the participating companies. Funding from the Technology Strategy Board was awarded following the six companies’ success in the ‘Batteries for Low and Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles: Recycling and Re-use’ competition, which was organised by the board with the assistance of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). Both the competition and funding are being delivered by the Technology Strategy Board through the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform (LCVIP), which was established in September 2007 to promote low carbon vehicle research, design, development and demonstration in the UK.
“I welcome the Technology Strategy Board funding in this area and congratulate the successful companies,” commented OLEV director Michael Hurwitz. “Understanding the economic opportunities available from batteries after their primary use in low and ultra low emission vehicles is an important element of the overall picture. We want this to contribute to the UK’s leading position in the design and uptake of these vehicles.”
Research carried out under the feasibility studies will explore potential processes for the cost-effective recycling of batteries for the propulsion of low and ultra low carbon vehicles, including detailed process flow and identification of the value of recovered elements, and also explore the potential development of commercial opportunities from the re-use of batteries after their primary use in low and ultra low carbon vehicles, including demonstrating energy remaining at various stages and its suitability and market demand for re-use.
One of the six participating companies, Axeon, shares that it will partner with Oxford Brookes University for its study into the economic viability of automotive battery recycling in the UK. Topics it will broach include defining the context in which battery recycling must take place, including the legal issues, plus the development of the recycling process and working out a business model for recycling end-of-life batteries. “The issue of end-of-life for batteries in hybrid and electric vehicles is incredibly important to OEMs and car buyers alike, particularly in respect of the economic and environmental considerations,” commented Axeon CEO Lawrence Berns. “Our project will help to define industry standards and best practice for battery recycling, which will be key to the mass commercialisation of battery-powered vehicles.”