Can't believe it is end of April already! I recently visited the SAE World Congress in Detroit and it was exciting to see that next year the theme will be focusing on Environment and Sustainablility!
Due to missing a blog entry in March, this blog entry will focus on some of the motivations why more circular economy principles need to be considered for End-of-Life Lithium-ion Electric Vehicle batteries.
There are five main drivers for looking into a more circular economy for batteries namely: Cost, Environment, Social considerations, legislation and the market.
Significant cost savings can be achieved by businesses in the European Union, up to 600 billion Euro according to the EU's ambitious circular economy package announced at the end of 2015. Another potential high cost that could be mitigated by applying a Circular Economy End-of-Life strategy such as remanufacturing is the high cost of lithium-ion battery disposal which can be approximately £3000/tonne which excludes costs for collection and transportation.
The main bits of legislation pertinent to Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Electric Vehicles are:
- The Battery directive (Directive 2006/66/EC) which prohibits the disposal of automotive batteries and industrial batteries (which a EV battery pack is classed under) by means of landfill or incineration.
- The EoL vehicle directive (Directive 2000/53/EC) also known as the End-of-life vehicles (ELV) directive specifies measures which aim to prevent waste from vehicles at the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery stages of End-of-Life vehicles and their components to reduce the disposal of waste. The directive also states that from January 2015 85% of average vehicle weight has to be reused or recycled.
The Batteries directive puts a responsibility on the Producer (defined as the person that puts the battery on the market for the first time) to carry the disposal cost when the battery reaches End-of-Life. The directive states that the customer must be able to dispose of the battery free of charge. This legislation could potentially have a large impact on the business model and End-of-Life strategies of Original Equipment Manufacturers and is a big motivation for companies to consider a more circular approach.
There are also potential enviromental benifits when moving to a more Circular Economy as highlighted by D. Parker and P. Butler “An Introduction to Remanufacturing” 2007, and state that to date remanufacturing in other sectors in the UK has avoiding the use of 270,000 tonnes of raw material and the release 800,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
The potential social benefits include the creation of 300,000 skilled jobs to local communities as highlighted in the UK government's Triple Win Report on remanufacturing.
The last driver for considering more Circular Economy based End-of-Life Strategies is the EV Market size which is increasing year-on-year in EU with predicted sales of 25% of new cars sold in 2025 and with Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs) up from 1708 new car registrations to over 10000 in 2015 according to the SMMT. Also, for the first time in 2015 ULEVs accounted for more than 1% of total UK market according to a UK government review on ULEV uptake in the UK.
Hopefully this provides some food for thought.
Until next time!