Auto-maker VW might not be on South Africa’s radar all that much when it comes to electric vehicles but they’re going to be. But, before they become a household name for EVs, they’ve already got extensive plans for recycling and reusing some of those massive batteries that power their cars.
The world of tech, if you haven’t been paying attention, is in a bit of trouble. There’s a semiconductor shortage about, which makes it harder to create and provide new tech, so recycling isn’t really optional any more. VW is aware of this, which is why the company’s new EV battery recycling plant is designed to recover up to 95% of the materials used to create batteries. Some of the process is… pretty brutal.
VW’s cleaning up
The brutal bit would be the crusher, which rips apart the battery casing and internals that can’t just be sucked out. But before it gets to this point, everything easily reusable is stripped out once the battery itself has been completely drained. Reusable cells are sent off to other batteries where they will live on a little longer. Then comes the crusher.
This renders down the casing to shreds of metal and chemicals, which are processed to recover electrolytes (in liquid form), so-called black-powder (which includes elements like lithium, manganese, cobalt and graphite) and magnetic metals. Later, non-magnetic metal is separated from plastic, leaving VW with a bunch of bits it can reintroduce into its production lines. It’s an interesting process — mostly because of the metal-chewing monster at the center of it all — but also an essential one. It’s likely that the company’s battery recycling plant at Salzgitter is only the first of many. Or, at least, that better be the case.
Source: The Next Web