The US Department of Energy’s Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize granted Everledger, HP, Call2Recycle and Fairphone a $357,000 cash award so that the group can continue working on a project called “Closing the loop on portable lithium-ion batteries.”
The initiative aims to help the DoE capture 90% of all discarded or spent lithium-based batteries in the United States for the eventual recovery of key materials, which would be later reintroduced into the supply chain.
With the recently received funds, the companies plan to develop a prototype app called Reward to Recycle, where consumers can learn how to earn a reward from contributing partners for recycling the batteries from their smartphones, tablets, power tools or laptops.
Digital transparency company Everledger is developing and testing the app, which establishes a ‘battery passport’ to track portable LIBs and support final recycling. The passport can be accessed by IoT identifiers as part of the labelling for each LIB. Using their smartphone, registered users will be able to find out more about recycling and earn rewards for doing so.
The solution will also involve the program sponsorship by the DoE, with participation from HP, Fairphone and other manufacturers of LIB-powered products, Call2Recycle and other collectors and sorters in the recycling chain. At the same time, the plan is to incorporate mechanisms that promote the incentivization of end consumers.
“The ambition of the solution is to optimize the circularity of LIB raw materials, prevent disposal of hazardous materials as well as reward consumers and support the industry to foster corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives,” the companies involved in the project said in a media statement.
“While the scheme aims to digitally-enable new products, it also aims to tackle the billions of LIBs already approaching end of life.”