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Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular and this also increases the need to be able to recycle electric car batteries in a good manner. An interesting method for this is a combination of so-called thermal pretreatment and hydrometallurgy, and now researchers at Chalmers have found a way to make that method more efficient.
Basically, it's a liquid-based chemical process where you gradually separate and recycle the metals. For the process to work, the batteries must be heated, which consumes time and money. But researchers have now shown that it is possible to recycle batteries without heating them.
"Our research can make a big difference for the developers in this field. In some cases, the changes can be as dramatic as going from 60-80 degrees to room temperature and from several hours to only 30 minutes", says Burcak Ebin, researcher at Chalmers and one of the article's lead authors, in a press release.
The researchers also compared two methods of thermal pretreatment, combustion, and pyrolysis. At this stage, it turned out that pyrolysis was both more environmentally friendly and gave a better result.
The researchers hope that the results will hopefully be used by industry to streamline and thereby reduce the costs of recycling electric car batteries.
"We need to reduce the number of steps required in recycling to reduce costs. We are currently working on several projects with that goal. Close collaboration and good communication between us researchers and the companies that develop the technology will also be very important if we are to succeed in the challenges we face in this area", says Martina Petranikova, associate professor at Chalmers and one of the researchers behind the study.