Some in the electric vehicles industry predict that we will have almost 150 million electric vehicles in service by 2030. This is fifteen times the number in use in 2021. Many automakers indicate that within a few decades, the current combustion engines will be completely gone. This is a good thing for the green economy and pollution, right? On the front end perhaps, as emissions are vastly reduced or gone. However, a real problem looms and needs attention now. What do we do with the batteries on these EVs once their useful life is over? They often end up in landfills, where they release heavy metals and other toxins.
Currently, pyrometallurgy (which burns spent batteries into slag) and hydrometallurgy (which dissolves them in acids) are the methods to extract cathode materials. The ideal would be direct recycling, which would recover the cathode intact, but this recycling would have to be cost-competitive, and as of now, it’s often cheaper to buy freshly mined metals than to use recycled materials.
China has imposed some new rules governing the reuse of EV battery components. The European Union is expected to finalize some requirements this year (2022). The United States government has not yet come up with any such recycling mandates. What needs to happen? The industries need to assess a high priority on EV battery recycling methods. We don’t want to be dealing with this problem after the landfills are full – no pun intended – of these used batteries.
With over 150 experts worldwide, Lee Enterprises Consulting has experts in many specific clean and renewable areas, including anaerobic digestion, fermentation, biomass, conversion technologies for things like tires and railroad ties, organic synthesis, fuel additives, ethanol gas, biodiesel fuel including algae biofuels, solid-state and industrial fermentation, green energy grants, ag-biotech, agricultural waste, alcohol fuels, alternative proteins and animal-free products, sustainable foods, beverage fermentation, biocatalysis, biodiesel conversion, biogas production, biomass power, carbon intensity, co2 utilization, combined heat & power, Fischer-Tropsch technology, food waste, hydrothermal carbonization, industrial enzymes, landfill management, microbial fermentation, organic synthesis, plastic pyrolysis, plastic recycling, plastic waste, pyrolysis oil, reactor design, renewable identification number, the Renewable Fuel Standard (rfs2), solid recovered fuels, torrefaction and torrefied biomass, waste to energy, and waste-to-hydrogen. This is a multidisciplinary group of green energy consultants that is a virtual “one-stop-shop” for any client need and handles projects of all types and sizes.
Look at our experts and the services we provide. Most of our experts are also available to advise and serve as expert witnesses in bioeconomy litigation matters. For the larger projects, we specialize in putting together full-service, interdisciplinary teams with one point of contact. See a video about LEC here. Call us at 1+ (501) 833-8511 or email us for more information.