IAV has developed a battery assembly concept that is much easier to recycle than existing battery systems and also has a much better CO2 balance. The concept is not only interesting for future vehicles—it can be integrated into existing e-models as well.
The IAV concept allows end-of-life (EOL) batteries to be dismantled in a more resource-friendly way and their valuable materials to be recycled more efficiently. Considered over the entire life cycle of a battery, this method can cut CO2 emissions by up to 20%.
The IAV concept thus also pays off in terms of a possible modernization of European legislation on batteries. The EU Commission’s proposal for an EU battery regulation provides for a gradual increase in recycling targets for certain raw materials in lithium-ion batteries by 2030 as part of minimum ecological requirements.
Manufacturers mainly make their battery and module housings from aluminum with various alloys. Hundreds of screws end up being used for the entire battery system, plus a lot of gluing and welding, said Michael Clauß, specialist for battery development at IAV. However, common production processes and the materials used make it difficult to dismantle them and thus to recycle them correctly.
That’s why many batteries are shredded. Valuable materials and carrier elements that could be used in new batteries are thus lost.—Michael Clauß
The core element of IAV’s concept is a new type of module and battery housing design. In the future, these would be made of more recyclable materials and, with innovative joining techniques, can be joined and separated more easily. This also reduces the cost of producing and recycling the peripheral elements by up to 50% compared to conventional battery systems.
The IAV battery concept replaces aluminum with steel. The material can be separated in the recycling process more easily and with less energy than aluminum. With consistent lightweight design, the use of steel increases the weight of the battery by only around one to one-and-a-half percent and is therefore negligible in terms of driving performance and range.
Instead of multiple screw solutions, bonding and welding seams, IAV engineers have introduced new joining techniques. Wherever possible, click and plug-in connections are used. This means that the number of bolted connections can be reduced by two-thirds, and bonding and welding can also be significantly cut back.
Thanks to the new design, recyclers can disassemble the battery system more easily and quickly. The design is such that robots can take over large parts of the work.—Michael Clauß
With the concept developed by IAV, battery systems for new e-models can be designed to be cheaper and more environmentally friendly. At the same time, suppliers and manufacturers can subsequently optimize systems already developed using the IAV method.
The advantage for the customer is that the battery ends up with the same dimensions and connections as before, so it can be integrated into existing vehicle structures without any problems.—Michael Clauß