Audi, Umicore recycle 90% cobalt, nickel from e-tron batteries
Carmaker Audi and materials technology company Umicore announced that, in preliminary tests, they were able to recover more than 90% of the cobalt and nickel contained in the high-voltage batteries of the Audi e-tron.
The recovered minerals will be used in new battery cells — but before this happens, the companies have to work on a closed-loop pilot project, which entails that Umicore will receive cell modules from different Audi e-tron models. Initially, the modules will be taken from development vehicles.
From those cells, cobalt and nickel will be recovered and processed into precursor and cathode materials. From the latter, new battery cells containing recycled minerals can be produced.
In a joint press release, the firms said that even before starting the development of its first fully-electric cars, Audi was already thinking about the recycling of the vehicles.
“A closed-loop for battery raw materials is a big leap technologically,” Bernd Martens, member of the board of management for Procurement and IT at Audi, said in the media brief. “We save precious resources and reduce CO2 emissions. In this way, we come significantly closer to our goal of a sustainable supply chain and reach a milestone on the road to achieving an overall carbon-neutral balance by 2050.”
According to Martens, Audi is actively working towards dealing with the remaining ‘end of life’ as well as resource-saving development of its products.