Just because an experiment produces the desired result in the lab does not mean it can be scaled up and become a commercial process. The Modeling and Analysis work screens successful laboratory projects to determine if they can make it in the real world. Although our experimental results are of scientific interest, the main objective of ReCell is to develop a recycling process that will be used by for-profit businesses. Processes must not only be economical but also environmentally sound. In addition, material availability and price must be considered when developing new processes.
The Modeling and Analysis focus includes two major efforts to help direct lab research towards viable processes:
- Environmental and Economic Modeling: The EverBatt model is an Excel-based tool that evaluates costs, energy use, and environmental impacts of every step of an EV’s lifecycle (except for the use phase). It can be used to compare production from virgin raw materials to recycling by different methods at different scales,or to simply compare two different ways of doing a single step in the process. The model uses inputs from two well-respected Argonne models, GREET and BatPac. The costs and impacts of the different processes will be used to down-select which processes will be scaled up for later phases of the ReCell work.
- Supply Chain and Systems Dynamics Modeling: LIBRA (Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Analysis) is a systems dynamics model in which each item in the flow of events receives input signals from the previous one and responds by adjusting the information it feeds to the next system node. So if investors invest in recycling, plant capacity increases and more material is available from recycling. That adds to the material inventory and decreases the quantity of new material that needs to be mined. And so forth. This type of modeling can be used to determine how success in recycling R&D can reduce both recycling costs and prices of battery materials.
Learn more about the individual projects in these areas in our Quarterly Reports.