The following article was originally published in eeNews Automotive. It is reprinted here with permission.
More than 90% of cobalt and nickel from high-voltage batteries for electric vehicles can be recovered. This is the result of a one-year test run carried out by the car manufacturer Audi together with the Belgian recycling specialist Umicore. The test is now entering a new phase: the recovered amounts of cobalt and nickel used in new battery cells.
For the closed-loop pilot project, Umicore will receive used cell modules from the Audi e-tron, initially from development vehicles. From these, the materials technology expert recovers cobalt and nickel and processes them into precursor and cathode material. New battery cells containing recycled cobalt and nickel can be produced from these materials.
Audi has also been involved in vehicle recycling since the development of its first all-electric electric car began. The company aims to be resource-efficient, with further recycling expertise expected to be built up in the future.
“A closed cycle for battery raw materials is a major technological leap forward. We save valuable resources and reduce CO2 emissions. This brings us much closer to our goal of a sustainable supply chain and represents a milestone on the road to achieving overall CO2 neutrality in our balance sheet by 2050,” says Bernd Martens, Member of the Board of Management for Procurement and IT at Audi. “It is our claim to think sustainability holistically. This includes dealing with the so-called ‘end of life” as well as developing our products in a way that conserves resources.”