Working toward more sustainable batteries by improving material choice, battery design, and second life opportunities
Designing new batteries with second life or end-of-life in mind can greatly improve recyclability. The ReCell Center focuses on enhancing the sustainability and adoption of used batteries through:
- Safe Transportation: Determine how to passivate batteries so that they can be safely transported with an end goal of alleviating costs associated with shipping without damaging the recyclable material content.
- Second Life: To be considered for second life applications (e.g., grid storage), it is critical to understand the state-of-the health of battery packs at the end of their first life. This focus area includes projects dedicated to developing diagnostics for assessing batteries from the pack level down to individual cells. In addition, ReCell is investigating non-destructive methods for disassembling batteries for (1) the removal and replacement of defective components and (2) designing secondary energy storage systems that house used battery modules to power behind the meter applications.
- Enabling Faster Disassembly: Disassembly of a battery pack is an intensive process that takes time and money. ReCell is investigating methods to simplify this process. One example involves designing advanced fasteners to enable rapid disassembly of battery packs.
- Recovering Materials from Renewable Energy Applications for Use in Batteries: End-of-life solar panels contain high-quality silicon which can be recovered and reused in anode materials for lithium-ion batteries offsetting the need for virgin materials.