News Engineering, Recycling, Corporate

Electric vehicles recycling, our challenge !

5 March 2021

ELECTRIC VEHICLES AND ENVIRONMENT 

 

Air pollution causes about 7 million deaths worldwide each year. Transportation is responsible for nearly 30% of the European Union’s total CO2 emissions. Of this emissions, 72% comes from road transport. To curb this trend, the European Union has adopted new targets that should reduce CO2 emissions from new cars and light trucks by promoting the electrification of vehicles.

 

On its level and through its commitment “For our children”, MTB has chosen to equip itself with a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) recharged by a 1500 m2 solar installation. This means 54 tons less CO2 each year.

 

innovate and develop solutions

 

However, electric mobility raises many issues around environmental impacts and pollution: extraction of ores, production of electricity and recycling of critical metals. The end-of-life of EV batteries focuses attention on these issues.

 

MTB is a responsible company that aims to become a pioneer in Zero Waste solutions for players who are concerned about transforming their waste into raw materials. Therefore, faced with the increase in lithium-ion battery production and in the lack of a high-performance treatment solution, MTB has developed an innovative and eco-efficient recycling solution.

 

To develop this solution, MTB’s R&D teams have worked alongside major battery manufacturers, EV collectors and dismantlers, players in the hydrometallurgy industry, academic laboratories, car manufacturers and French and European institutions. 

 

Thanks to the many partners we work with and the complementary nature of our expertise, several industrial units have been set up to process production scrap or end-of-life batteries. Right from the process design stage, we have taken into account future technological developments in batteries.

BATTERIES COMPOSITION 

 

Many battery chemistries exist on the market, their composition and architecture vary according to type, form and application.

 

The cells to generate energy are composed of :

  • Active material: Cobalt, Lithium, Nickel, Manganese, etc…
  • Graphite
  • Copper, aluminum, etc.
  • Electrolyte

 

Once assembled in modules and then integrated into packs, we also find ferrous metals, electronic cards and plastics.

 

The objective for MTB, thanks to a system of crushing and sorting elements, is to recover all raw materials such as: blackmass, ferrous and non-ferrous metals or plastics.

 

 

a complete recycling solution

 

A first phase involves disassembling the battery packs to reach the ladder, allowing the coolant to be drained (in the case of EV batteries) and a deep electrical discharge of each module.

 

The battery recycling process developed by MTB allows all types of cells to be treated:

  • Cylindrical
  • Prismatics
  • Pouch

 

Our process is therefore efficient for all cell technologies with a recycling capacity ranging from 500 kg per hour to 4 tons per hour.

 

The three recycling stages are as follows:

  • Single stage shredding for battery reduction in a controlled atmosphere
  • Electrolyte evaporation: vacuum system in continuous functioning in order to evaporate and separate the electrolyte from the solid fraction,
  • Separation and sorting: separating and refining multi-layers of cells, refining the casing and computers.

AVERAGE MASS BALANCE