BMW has developed
a prismatic battery cell
layout for standardization
114 // July 2019 // www.electrichybridvehicletechnology.com
value from the packs at their end of life
by repurposing the component materials,
streamlining the often complicated
disaggregation process and establishing an
alternative recycling methodology capable
of economically recovering more than just
cobalt in the incumbent process.
There is no denying the electric vehicle
will completely change the personal transport
landscape and with a typical EV lithium ion
battery retaining between 50 and 70%of its
power capacity upon removal from its host,
it is a shame to think they could end up
in landfi ll.
But with each manufacturer vying to create
patented technology and advances being made
in battery composition every year, only time
will tell if lithium ion battery recycling plants
can keep up with the pace of change.
Like many voices in the battery recycling
industry, Spiers feels any OEM ignoring the
opportunity to create this so called ‘closed
loop’ is missing a trick. BMW’s Robert Irlinger
also agrees that refurbishing is currently the
number one priority within the business.
“If you look at an i3 battery, you will notice
we decided to opt for a prismatic layout, which
are packaged in a very regular way. You can
easily exchange single cells out of the battery
if they are to fail. If that doesn’t work, we reuse
them as energy storage devices to help even
out demand on the grid,” he explains.
But there are many that feel that there is
always more that can be done, with Professor
Bhagat pointing out that in the UK it is hugely
reliant on imports for nickel, cobalt and other
metals required for EV battery production,
but also heavily dependent on European
companies to collect older battery packs
as they come to the end of their lives.
In response, Bhagat is leading a new £2m
(US$2.5m) project with Johnson Matthey Plc
and the Faraday Institute, dubbed CALIBRE
(Custom Automotive Lithium Ion Battery
REcycling), which hopes to demonstrate a
scalable process that will lead to the UK being
the primary battery recycling hub in Europe.
Using old Nissan Leaf battery packs, the
aim of the project is to extract maximum