Recycling Lithium batteries are not easy. These rechargeable batteries can be utilized for many types of technologies. Recently, they are being used for electric vehicles and the Tesla Powerwall. Due to the increasing demand for lithium batteries every day, the world must find a solution to stop the wastage of these batteries and start working on their recycling methods.
Things to Note
Recycling is a pretty energy-intensive process and recycling these batteries requires a lot of capital plus many challenges need to be overcome to make it a reality. Nowadays, it is better to buy a new lithium battery rather than recycle an old one due to the pricing of the two.
A strong supply chain is only possible if these batteries are recycled, ensuring that important resources are not squandered. A popular choice for any solar battery and electric vehicle, lithium-ion batteries have one of the longest lifespans and are rechargeable.
The Differentiating Factor between Primary & Secondary Lithium Batteries
The first and obvious reason between primary and secondary lithium batteries is that primary (lithium batteries) cannot be recharged but secondary (lithium-ion batteries) can. The next difference is based on the size of their application. Small devices like fire alarms require lithium batteries while complex and large devices like laptops require secondary lithium batteries for their operation.
Lithium batteries being more basic can be easily recycled. However, secondary lithium batteries, being much more intricate in design and technology are difficult to recycle. Secondary lithium batteries contain flammable constituents which can pose serious health risks if they are recycled in an incorrect way and can prove to be fatal and dangerous.
With the advancements in technology and the inception of the solar battery and electric vehicles, secondary lithium batteries have been a popular choice of use for both as they can fit into a small space and can hold massive amounts of power with respect to the space they occupy. What helps in electric vehicles is the lengthy lifespan of these batteries and their ability to charge and discharge, making them the perfect choice for these vehicles.
The Best Way of recycling Lithium batteries Locally
It is not an easy task to recycling Lithium batteries. Lithium is dangerous and that is not an understatement since it is a highly flammable element. Recycling such a metal only poses more risk to the recycler. Moreover, a solar battery and an electric vehicle battery are pretty heavy, making recycling a hard process. Even if the whole battery is difficult to recycle, its constituents like copper, aluminum, and cobalt can be recycled and reused for different applications.
However, the same metals increase the recycling price as it is cheaper to buy or mine and combine these metals than to go through the arduous process of recycling them. But lithium is a different story entirely. It is actually cheaper to recycle lithium than to mine a fresh batch of the metal.
The Recycling of Secondary Lithium Batteries
Shredding is a process that involves recycling Lithium batteries. These batteries have their internal constituents shredded and mixed in this process. After this, the metals are shredded and form a fine powder. Then they are separated, either dissolved in acid or liquefied so that the required metal can be extracted from the mixture.
The process of recycling batteries is a new and foreign concept, and countries are taking the initiative to secure funds to promote this recycling of metals so that a smooth clean energy transition can take place. Meanwhile, more research can be done about recycling Lithium batteries while securing more funds from investors to complete the project.
The batteries of an electric vehicle can be reused instead of shredding. As told before, secondary lithium batteries have a long lifespan but they can lose their ability to power energy-intensive vehicles. However, they can be used for less energy-demanding tasks like backup power in a solar battery.
In present times, it is a hassle recycling Lithium batteries an old battery like a solar battery or the battery of an electric vehicle. There are licensed recyclers which can be found on the internet. Some manufacturers even ask their customers to give them their secondary lithium batteries back at the end of their lifecycle so that these can be recycled safely.
The Difficulty of Recycling Secondary Lithium Batteries
Inexpensive lithium mining causes more cash to flow towards mining efforts just so lithium can be used in batteries. Building lithium batteries that are cheap and of low quality will only increase electronic waste rather than do any good to the battery industry.
Recycling is possible with a little more motivation and capital as metals can be reused and most of them ,are long-lasting. The emergence of recycling Lithium batteries is needed such that it becomes so common that mining lithium feels like a hassle.
Mining lithium isn’t good for the environment either as it produces carbon dioxide in bulk. However, recycling Lithium batteries is an environmentally friendly and sustainable approach. Moreover, the shortage of metals can be no longer a concern if the metals can be reused and recycled after a full term of service.
Future of Secondary Lithium Battery Recycling
Recently, the demand for secondary lithium batteries has exploded, partly due to the technological advancements in solar batteries and electric vehicles. However, the batteries in our hands have not yet met their end. This is why there is a void of dead batteries. If there aren’t enough dead batteries, then there will be nothing worth recycling Lithium batteries. This is why research on recycling batteries has been sluggish.
Batteries are slowly making their way into the renewable world. With time, reusing and recycling Lithium batteries will be the norm where these batteries will be getting improvements every day just so they can function at their peak. The metals will not be disposed of if the battery dies but rather they would be reused. There might be no electronic waste to worry about either.