SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): As sales of electric vehicles shoot higher across the nation, there are growing concerns about recycling the batteries that run these cars and trucks, so they don’t wind up being tossed in a landfill or posing an explosive threat. Now, a New Jersey company has been awarded $10 million by the U.S. Department of Energy to work on recycling and reusing batteries for electric vehicles. Princeton NuEnergy Inc. in Bordentown is working on decreasing the cost of recycling and improving the recycling rate of lithium-ion batteries. Chief Strategy Officer Stephen Snyder said the recycling methods being used for EV batteries are hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical processes, but Princeton NuEnergy is working on a new approach.
He said a direct recycling method more efficiently recovers, regenerates and reuses the components of these batteries directly, without breaking down their chemical structure. “What we try to do is basically take the batteries apart, and effectively, like furniture for spring cleaning, you dust it off and then you put it back,” he said. He said while this approach is more complex it is more cost-effective, it uses 70% less energy and less pollution is emitted in the process. “The whole process of recycling and making sure that these batteries not only have their original life but multiple lives beyond that is key.”
He said it’s essential to develop more efficient ways to recycle EV batteries because they contain components that may not be readily available in the U.S. in the future. “The last thing we want to do is put critical materials like lithium, cobalt, cadmium nickel in a landfill. Far, far too valuable.”