Bosch Rexroth is an environmentally conscious company, so it makes sense that they would be pioneering the automation of battery recycling for electric vehicles. The new automated system discharges and disassembles the batteries of electric vehicles so the elements can be reused.
With current manual processes, it takes 24 hours to deep discharge a battery, but Rexroth expects to process 8 batteries in 15 minutes once the system is up and running. The residual energy from the used batteries will provide the energy to power the recycling plant.
EV battery recycling
EV batteries can be expected to las 15 to 20 years, or 100 to 200 thousand miles of driving. This is beyond the lifespan of the average car.
These batteries are made of lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel, and graphite, plus the steel and aluminum used for the casings. These minerals are environmentally costly Cobalt, for example, is mined by hand under dangerous conditions in mines that produce toxic fumes. The largest producer, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is known for the exploitation of the miners.
Lithium requires enormous amounts of water for its production, nickel pollutes land and water around the mines, and manganese exposure is a health hazard not just for miners but for surrounding communities as well.
Because of the dangers of producing these minerals, it is essential to get the greatest possible use from them and to reduce the need for more. Recycling EV batteries can return 95% of the raw materials to the production stream.
At this point, the cost of recycling EV batteries is prohibitive. Most of the materials can’t be recycled profitably. The new Rexroth system Ofers speed and volume that make EV battery recycling feasible economically as well as practical.