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Audi and Umicore developing closed-loop recycling for high-voltage batteries; 95%+ recovery of key elements

Audi and Umicore have successfully completed phase one of their strategic research cooperation for battery recycling. The two partners are developing a closed loop for components of high-voltage batteries that can be used again and again. Particularly valuable materials are set to become available in a raw materials bank.

Even before the start of the cooperation with Umicore in June 2018, Audi had analyzed the batteries in the A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid car and defined ways of recycling. Together with Umicore, the car manufacturer then determined the possible recycling rates for battery components such as cobalt, nickel and copper—in laboratory tests, more than 95% of these elements can be recovered and reused.

The partners are now developing specific recycling concepts, with the focus on closed-loop approach. In such a closed cycle, valuable elements from batteries flow into new products at the end of their lifecycle and are thus reused. The Ingolstadt-based company is now applying this approach to the high-voltage batteries in the new Audi e-tron electric car.

The aim is to gain insights into the purity of the recovered materials, recycling rates and the economic feasibility of concepts such as a raw materials bank. Security of supply and shorter delivery cycles are the goals.

We want to be a pioneer and to promote recycling processes. This is also an element of our program to reduce CO2 emissions in procurement.

—Bernd Martens, Member of the Board of Management for Procurement and IT at Audi

For Audi, battery recycling is a key element of sustainable electric mobility. From the extraction of raw materials to the CO2-neutral e-tron plant in Brussels to the recycling of components, Audi is committed to environmentally compatible concepts along its entire value chain.

Comments

Engineer-Poet

This is inevitably going to be integrated with any second-life battery scheme, as an "active raw materials bank".

Peter_XX

OK, recycling of cobalt, nickel and copper. Nice! However, lithium will be mixed in cement as previously, right? Recycling? Consequently, "95%+" recycling of "key elements" does not include lithium?

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