The chair of “Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components” (PEM) at RWTH Aachen University, together with the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) and the Technical University (TU) of Braunschweig, has published the brochure “Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries”. The 28-page document explains the structure and functioning of the batteries, the risks involved in handling them, the challenges of dismantling and automating them, and various approaches to recycling.
Kampker: “We must develop economical concepts”
“The amount of lithium-ion batteries that are in the last stage of their life in electric vehicles will increase massively in the coming years. Therefore, we need to develop economical and sustainable concepts for recycling and raw material recovery,” says Professor Achim Kampker. Accoring to the head of PEM, a recycling rate of up to 95 percent is technically feasible even today. “The still very high production rejects in current battery manufacturing and the high increase in ‘end of life’ batteries expected in the next few years makes energy-efficient recycling management and higher recycling capacities necessary,” adds Professor Arno Kwade, founder and spokesman of the “Battery LabFactory” at TU Braunschweig.
The topic is also significant for the mechanical and plant engineering industry, as a completely new market segment is opening up with increasing recycling demand, says Dr. Joachim Döhner, Chairman of the VDMA Battery Production Department and Senior Director Global Sales Battery at KUKA Systems GmbH: “The required automation of battery disassembly and the recovery of recyclable materials will generate new know-how and, ultimately, new business areas.” To implement sustainable concepts for batteries at their “end of life,” all players along the value chain – from material synthesis to battery cell, battery module and battery pack production to the use phase – must address the issue, the brochure’s authors emphasize.
The document is available for download.