A team led by Volkswagen manages to recycle the same battery several times

This is a milestone in the history of engineering dedicated to the recycling of battery materials for electric cars. In recent years, much has been said about the possibilities provided by the recycling of these components in pursuit of a majority use of their parts, as well as a reduction in the pollution derived from their manufacture. Volkswagen is a company that has been working on this aspect for months, however, his studies have gone a step further by managing to recycle the same battery several times, something unprecedented until now. This research project has been given the name of HVBatCycle and has been funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection.

This has been possible thanks to the work of several companies dedicated to this sector and commanded by the German automobile firm itself. The objective of this milestone has been to guarantee the sustainability of the materials used in the batteries so that they can be reused on more than one occasion. Said materials will preferably be lithium or other rare materials with a high price currently on the market.. The study has based its timeline on a first step on how to recycle as many of the batteries as possible, as well as a second point of figuring out how to recycle them several additional times in a row.

The researchers involved in this project come from companies such as Taniobis GmbH, J. Schmalz GmbH or Viscom AG, which continue to work in parallel with other research for the RWTH Aachen University, as well as for TU Braunschweig and the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering. and Thin Films. said researchers They have dedicated a total of three years of study to achieve the recycling of battery materials for electric cars more than once. All this under the leadership of the specialized department of the Volkswagen Group.

This research team had to find the optimal way to keep the cathode materials, the graphite and the electrolyte permanently in a closed conservation cycle. His tests have resulted in the possibility of continued use of the most coveted materials when manufacturing new battery cells.

However, given the difficulty in carrying out repeated recycling of these materials, the next phase of the study will focus on how to make it feasible to achieve this milestone repeatedly and over time. Once this step has been completed, the researchers will continue with the process of guaranteeing the scalability and economic efficiency of this exercise, as well as developing the complete closed-loop project for the life of these reused batteries for once this process becomes an industry standard.

Another of the fundamental steps that this project will have to face will be automate the whole process, as far as possible, from the reception of the used batteries, to the correct selection of materials in good condition that will be used in new batteries. all of it under the criterion of zero or minimal loss of material in the process.

Each and every one of the processes that have been developed so far, as well as those that are yet to come, come and will be accompanied by a systematic analysis of sustainability throughout the life cycleboth from the reused materials and from the manufacturing process of the new battery itself, as well as from all the parties involved in the process.

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