tesla-roadster-frontTesla’s got the right idea about what to do with EV batteries: Recycle them. Tesla has launched a comprehensive strategy to recycle its industry-leading battery packs throughout Europe.

Now, if we could only get the solar industry to do the right thing too and create a comprehensive recycling plan for the millions of PV panels that are going up in the U.S., and around the world, then we’d see solar-charged driving truly become the complete green circle we’d like to see it become.

Tesla will recycle battery packs at Umicore’s UHT facility in Belgium. The Brussels-based materials technology company will use the expended pack material to produce an alloy that will be further refined into cobalt, nickel and other metals.

After that, Umicore will transform the cobalt into high grade lithium cobalt oxide, which can be resold to battery manufacturers. One of the few byproducts of their environmentally-friendly approach is a clean inertized slag containing calcium oxides and lithium. The slag goes into the production of special grades concretes.

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Umicore’s battery recycling technology allows to save a minimum of 70% on CO2 emissions at the recovery and refining of these valuable metals. So it can substantially reduce the carbon footprint for the manufacturing of Lithium-Ion batteries.

Leading the way on recycling
“While we work to help lessen global dependence on petroleum-based transportation and drive down the cost of electric vehicles, we are also taking the lead in developing a closed loop battery recycling system,” Tesla’s Director of Energy Storage Systems Kurt Kelty writes in a new blog about the process.

Tesla has been building and selling highway-capable, fully-certified electric cars for three years, during which time the Silicon Valley-based company has championed recycling and use of non-toxic materials. Tesla customers do not pay extra for recycling of the battery pack, which is expected to last 7-10 years or about 160,000 kilometers under normal use.

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