성큼 다가온 전기차 시대…불 붙는 ‘배터리’ 경쟁

With electric vehicles becoming more mainstream, in the near future, there will be piles of the EV batteries to be disposed.
There is a market dedicated to recycling the product, and it is growing fast.
Kim Sung-min zooms in on this trend.
Electric vehicle batteries usually last about ten years… and are said to be flat… when their efficiency drops below 80 percent.
With the EV market growing fast, South Korea is expected to produce around 400-thousand flat batteries by 2030, a number that will grow exponentially.

“Behind me are piles of flat EV batteries, each of them weighing around 400 kilograms.
Given that millions of these huge batteries will go flat in the coming years,… recycling them is so important for the environment.”

This is one of South Korea’s EV battery recycling plants.
The process works like this:
First, the batteries are dismantled by hand.
Then, they’re shredded separately in machines filled with liquids or gases that keep them from catching fire.
The result of this step… is a mix of chemicals and materials they call “black mass.”
Next, they extract the valuable components, like nickel and cobalt, which are sent to companies that will use them to produce new batteries.

“The world is trying to reduce carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality. The amount of emissions from recycling nickel is 60 to 70 percent less than from sourcing nickel from mines. This alone can be the reason to recycle.”

And it’s not just about the environment.
It also comes down to maximizing efficiency… because resources are finite.
The materials used in battery-making like copper, nickel, cobalt, lithium and manganese exist in limited amounts, and can be found in only a few countries.
Recycling… extracts these resources and helps countries reduce their reliance on others in securing them.

“Normally, one nickel mine produces around 10-thousand to 40-thousand tons of nickel a year. Here, just by recycling,… we can produce 4-thousand-400 tons of cobalt and nickel.”

The global battery recycling market is expected to grow to 18 billion U.S. dollars by 2030,… in part because governments are moving to make the process mandatory.
The EU has a specific roadmap for disposing of flat batteries… that requires companies to take back waste batteries from end-users,… and to reach specific minimum levels of efficiency when recycling.
South Korea has not yet made specific rules, but those discussions are expected to happen soon… as part of achieving sustainability in the long term.
Kim Sung-min, Arirang News.

#EV #battery #industry

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2021-06-09, 22:00 (KST)

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