Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Toyota Chemical Engineering Co., Ltd. (Toyota Chemical Engineering), Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. (Sumitomo Metal Mining) and Primearth EV Energy Co., Ltd. (PEVE, formerly Panasonic EV Energy) have launched what they say is the first business to recycle nickel in used hybrid-vehicle nickel-metal-hydride batteries for use in new nickel-metal-hydride batteries.
|Business structure of battery-to-battery recycling. Click to enlarge.|
Previously, nickel-metal-hydride batteries recovered by car dealers and vehicle dismantling businesses were subjected to reduction treatment, and scrap containing nickel was recycled as a raw material for stainless-steel manufacturing. Now, with the development of high-precision nickel sorting and extraction technology, materials can be introduced directly into the nickel-refining process, thus achieving “battery-to-battery” recycling.
To carry out the business, TMC has established the Toyota HV Call Center to help recover the batteries, constructed advanced recycling facilities designed for mass production in cooperation with Toyota Chemical Engineering, and is receiving support from Sumitomo Metal Mining concerning the refining of nickel for use in batteries. TMC is also receiving support from PEVE concerning quality assurance in the manufacture of hybrid-vehicle nickel-metal-hydride batteries.
In addition, making use of trucks on return trips from parts deliveries is planned to reduce environmental impact, including CO2 emissions during transport.
TMC is currently investigating introducing this recycling system overseas.