German battery manufacturer AKASOL is has partnered with the Fraunhofer Research Institution to develop automated recycling processes for battery packs.
“The rising demand for high-performance battery systems means that more raw materials, such as lithium, cobalt or nickel, are needed to manufacture these energy-storage technologies,” explains AKASOL Head of Product Management Dr. Björn Eberleh. “In order to cover the increased demand for raw materials, it is necessary to promote their recovery from used batteries and to gradually increase the recovery rates. An important step is to align product design around considerations of recyclability at the end of service life.”
AKASOL and Fraunhofer hope to develop an automated system for the efficient disassembly of traction batteries and the recovery of raw materials. “The goal is to implement a process that checks a battery system to determine its condition and then uses relevant parameters to decide whether it can be used in a second-life application, or whether it needs to be fed directly to recycling,” Eberleh explains.
The project will also study the reusability of battery modules in second-life applications. “We are studying the extent to which modules recovered from battery systems can be repurposed with the aid of a modular system—to create stationary battery storage, for example,” says Eberleh. As they develop the disassembly and recycling processes, the partners will assess their overall environmental impact. “We want to improve the ecological balance of the lithium-ion batteries and contribute to the reduction of CO2 in production.”