Electric car batteries will soon feature more recycled elements

Lithium-ion batteries made from recycled materials will soon start rolling out of factories in the USA. While they offer the same level of efficiency as other batteries, they have a much smaller carbon footprint.
Electric car batteries will soon feature more recycled elements
©Sergii Chernov / Shutterstock

This feat is the result of an agreement between BASF, a producer of battery materials, and battery manufacturer Nanotech Energy, to produce lithium-ion batteries from recycled materials for the North American market. BASF will produce cathode active materials from recycled metals. Nanotech Energy will then use these to create cells for future lithium-ion batteries. The use of these recycled metals in making the batteries should reduce their carbon footprint by around 25%. The first examples should be available as soon as 2024. And that’s not all, since the American Battery Technology Company (ABTC), a start-up specializing in recycling, will also recover materials such as nickel, cobalt and manganese, from Nanotech Energy for its own work.

This announcement echoes that of Sweden’s Northvolt, which recently presented a prototype battery based on recycled metals (cobalt, nickel, manganese). The company, which works with Volkswagen, has announced that it will be difficult to produce this type of battery on a large scale before 2030.

This drive for recycled materials is motivated not only by the ever-increasing demand for new batteries, but also by ecological concerns. The batteries currently found in electric cars are by far the most harmful to the environment, if only because of the quantity of valuable materials they contain and the waste they generate. It is therefore essential to set up as many recycling programs as possible.

As well as manufacturers, automakers are also getting involved in recycling the raw materials needed to make the batteries that equip their electric vehicles. Renault, for example, intends to recycle metals from its end-of-cycle batteries in a closed loop.