Electric automaker Tesla Motors has teamed with Belgium's Umicore to establish a lithium-ion battery recycling program in Europe. Under the agreement, Brussels-based Umicore will recycle Tesla's spent lithium-ion battery packs, converting the materials into an alloy that will be refined into individual components such as cobalt, nickel and other metals. During the final recycling step, Umicore will transform, via high-tech processing methods, the remaining cobalt into lithium cobalt oxide, which it will then sell to battery manufacturers.
A byproduct of Umicore's lithium-ion battery recycling is an inert slag material, which contains calcium oxides and lithium and can be utilized in the construction of roadways. Umicore claims that its proprietary battery recycling technology, which recovers useable metals, cuts back on the need to extract these components from the ground and, therefore, reduces CO2 emissions by as much as 70 percent.
Tesla claims that its battery packs will last, on average, seven to ten years under normal driving condition (100,000 miles). Additionally, Tesla points out that drivers will not be charged an extra fee for recycling spent batteries.
[Source: Tesla Motors]
Unique eco-friendly approach recovers important metals and reduces carbon footprint
Maidenhead, UK – Tesla Motors has launched a comprehensive strategy to recycle its industry-leading battery packs throughout Europe.
At the end of their long life, Tesla will recycle its battery packs at Umicore's UHT facility in Belgium. The Brussels-based materials technology company will use the expended pack material to produce an alloy that will be further refined into cobalt, nickel and other metals.
After that, Umicore will transform the cobalt into high grade lithium cobalt oxide, which can be resold to battery manufacturers. One of the few byproducts of their environmentally-friendly approach is a clean inertized slag containing calcium oxides and lithium. The slag goes into the production of special grades concretes.
Umicore's battery recycling technology allows to save a minimum of 70 percent on CO2 emissions at the recovery and refining of these valuable metals. So it can substantially reduce the carbon footprint for the manufacturing of Lithium-Ion batteries.
"While we work to help lessen global dependence on petroleum-based transportation and drive down the cost of electric vehicles, we are also taking the lead in developing a closed loop battery recycling system," Tesla's Director of Energy Storage Systems Kurt Kelty wrote in a new blog about the process.
Tesla has been building and selling highway-capable, fully-certified electric cars for three years, during which time the Silicon Valley-based company has championed recycling and use of non-toxic materials. Tesla customers do not pay extra for recycling of the battery pack, which is expected to last 7-10 years or about 160,000 kilometers under normal use.
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Tesla's goal is to produce increasingly affordable electric cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs. Based in California's Silicon Valley, Tesla has delivered more than 1,500 Roadsters to customers in at least 30 countries in Europe, North America and Asia. Tesla designs, develops, manufactures and sells EVs and EV powertrain components. The Tesla Roadster accelerates faster than most sports cars yet produces no emissions.