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After years of dismantling discarded televisions and laptops, a Shanghai recycling plant is readying itself for a new wave of waste: piles of exhausted batteries from the surge of electric vehicles hitting China’s streets.

The plant has secured licenses and is undergoing upgrades to handle a fast-growing mountain of battery waste, said Li Yingzhe, a manager at the facility, run by the state-owned Shanghai Jinqiao Group.
“We believe there will be so much growth in the number of electric vehicles in the future,” he said.



Wang Chuanfu, president of BYD Co Ltd, China’s leading electric carmaker, last month described the lithium, copper and cobalt extracted from spent batteries as “treasures”.


Automating the recycling process in China is a major challenge due to a lack of standardized battery designs.


The growth of China’s electric vehicle industry - and the ambitions of recycling companies - is underpinned by a government drive to eventually phase out gasoline-burning cars, part of a broader effort to improve urban air quality and ease a reliance on overseas oil.


China accounted for more than 40 percent of global electric car sales in 2016, followed by the European Union and the United States. It also overtook the United States as the market with the greatest number of electric vehicles.



http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-batteries-recycling-insight/chinas-recyclers-eye-looming-electric-vehicle-battery-mountain-idUSKBN1CR0Y8?il=0
 

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In just a few years, China has become the world’s biggest electric vehicle market, with the help of subsidies. It saw 336,00 new electric car registrations (pdf, p.12) in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency. That includes both battery-only and hybrid models. Including other types of vehicles, China says it sold a total of half a million “new energy” vehicles last year. This month, China also said that it would eventually phase out sales of all fossil-fuel cars.
That fast-growing market, however, is also producing batteries at a faster rate too. The average lifespan of a lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) battery, the dominant type in China’s electric vehicles, is around five years, according to Li Changdong, chairman of the Hunan-based Brunp group, China’s top electric car battery recycler in 2016 (link in Chinese). Most batteries installed on electric vehicles during the 2012 to 2014 period will be retired on a large scale (link in Chinese) around 2018, Li told the Beijing-based newspaper Economic Information Daily.

And now the rest of the story...

In 2020, nearly 250,000 metric tons (276,000 tons) of batteries, or 35 gigawatt-hours of batteries, are set to be retired—nearly 20 times those depleted in 2016, GaoGong Industry Institute, a Shenzhen-based electric car industry research firm, told Quartz.

The battery is the heart of the electric vehicle industry, and the country needs a well-established battery recycling system, Xin Guobin, a top industry and tech official, told a national forum for the battery-powered engine industry Tuesday (link in Chinese) (Sept. 26). But recycling these batteries isn’t easy, due to the sophisticated chemical procedures involved. If it’s not done properly the heavy metal contained in the battery can lead to contamination of soil and water.

https://qz.com/1088195/chinas-boomin...battery-waste/

According to China’s 2015 electric vehicle battery policy, car manufacturers are responsible for recycling their batteries (link in Chinese). But many auto manufacturers often leave the responsibility to battery suppliers, who find it hard to afford the cost of building a national recycling network, noted the Economic Information Daily. For now, China’s battery recycling industry is relatively small and scattered, and recycling operating costs are high, Gao Xiaobing, director of the lithium battery study center at GaoGong, told Quartz. That’s discouraging more players from entering the business.

Meaning they have "kicked the can down the road" for dealing with the recycling of those batteries...I see China having to deal with this in the near future the way the US did with SuperFund sites...
 

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There seems to be a suggestion now to standardize batteries to make automated recycling economical. That suggestion may turn into a mandate at some point. If that happens, I'd expect the battery costs to go down some as well. Being the worlds largest EV market and standards-based batteries may result in China setting the world standard as it commoditizes batteries and EV's.

Meanwhile the US limps along on soon to expire tax credits and a lack of clear government guidelines or incentives whether in words or cash.

'We are watching another new, high tech industry slip from our grasp. I love the talk about creating new manufacturing jobs, but creating them also means taking chances on new industries like batteries and EV's. GW Bush signed the EV tax credit law into effect to try to spur this. Obama expanded it and the Volt got beatup because he sat in one. Now what? Roll back EPA mileage requirements and keep us focused on gas-burning trucks? Forget the future, stay in the past, lol

I've done what I can. I voted for a Volt and a Bolt with my $$. I think China would embrace buyers like me.
 

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There seems to be a suggestion now to standardize batteries to make automated recycling economical. That suggestion may turn into a mandate at some point.
That would be less than brilliant. Batteries are where we need breakthroughs. Mock living in the past and then suggest it be mandated? You're driving history right now.

Wang Chuanfu, president of BYD Co Ltd, China’s leading electric carmaker, last month described the lithium, copper and cobalt extracted from spent batteries as “treasures”.
Lithium is not. It's quite plentiful around the globe. Copper a little bit - maybe more in China. The cobalt is the rarer element and is probably going to be the real bottleneck in ramping up EV battery production. The price has been climbing rapidly as of late.

Automating the recycling process in China is a major challenge due to a lack of standardized battery designs.
Hilarious considering China has anti-automation policies for manufacturing. Someone's blowing BS.......
 

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A couple of other points on this. Nickel-metal-hydride cells contain precious metals with a known recycling value. But for the much higher-capacity lithium-ion batteries the materials are relatively inexpensive, and even with technological breakthroughs estimates are that only 20 percent of the cost of recycling could be recouped by selling the recovered materials. The value may lie in secondary uses such as bundling them with photovoltaic solar panels for home use since they retain about 70-80% of their original capacity.

GM is already using former EV batteries to help power their new IT building.

Also, Retriev Technologies is already doing battery recycling here in the US. In 2009 the US Department of Energy awarded $9.5 million to Toxco (since renamed Retriev Technologies) in order to build the first recycling facility for lithium-ion car batteries. A lack of clear government guidelines or incentives whether in words or cash? If you think 9.5 milllion is chump change I suppose.

I was ready to pipe off about no one thinking ahead about EV battery recycling. But instead I did a tiny bit of research and learned new things.
 

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I'm more interested in EV car development in the US. I think a mountain of batteries to recycle (and some grants) will spur development of recycling techniques.

But why does China have a mountain of EV batteries to recycle? They seem to be dieing young. Bad engineering? Lack of TMS? Too many full discharges?
 

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But why does China have a mountain of EV batteries to recycle? They seem to be dieing young. Bad engineering? Lack of TMS? Too many full discharges?
I wondered the same thing. Knowing what type of batteries are piling up might provide clues.

I'm a little dubious on the claim that there are that many batteries piling up since EVs haven't been around that long and I wonder how many Chinese folks can afford an EV - subsidized or otherwise. I find it hard to comprehend that many people churning through a lot of car batteries so quickly. We get way too much hyperbole about what goes on there and in Europe. There's little sense of scale injected into these sort of reports.
 

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I'm more interested in EV car development in the US. I think a mountain of batteries to recycle (and some grants) will spur development of recycling techniques.

But why does China have a mountain of EV batteries to recycle? They seem to be dieing young. Bad engineering? Lack of TMS? Too many full discharges?
China has had electrified transportation for a long time. Mostly small scooter, but in many city's gas scooters are prohibited, so everyone is on small electric bikes. They go through batteries quickly as they are cheap with low range so they are abused, being run all the way down often. Also many places have policies that scrap old cars. But for them old may be 7 to 10 year old.
Many of the cities like Shanghai have lotteries to get license plates and there are only so many plates available. I would expect that they are pushing the electrification by making more phev plates available than ice. The down side of this policy is that they will simply buy the phev and never plug it in. They won't care because it was the difference between getting a plate/car or not.
 
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