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US marks ‘Battery Day’ with Li recycling centre launch

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Argonne National Laboratory

The Department of Energy (DoE) marked ‘National Battery Day’ in the US with the launch of the country’s first lithium-ion battery recycling centre.

The ‘ReCell Center’ has been set up at the Argonne National Laboratory to “help the United States grow a globally competitive recycling industry and reduce [its] reliance on foreign sources of battery materials”, the DoE said.

Lithium-ion batteries in the US are currently collected and recycled at a rate of less than 5%. The DoE aims to eventually “profitably capture 90% of all lithium based battery technologies”, and subsequently “recover 90% of the key materials” from lithium batteries.

It is estimated that establishing an effective recycling network can reduce production costs for new batteries by up to 30%. This would bring the overall costs of batteries for electric vehicles closer to the DoE’s stated goal of $80/kWh.

“This centre will create jobs and create a national supply of lithium-based battery materials, as well as spur the adoption of an affordable electric vehicle economy”, said Daniel Simmons, assistant secretary of energy efficiency and renewable energy.  

To further mark National Battery Day , the DoE also announced a ‘Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Prize’, which will award funds from a $5.5m purse, in order to accelerate development of recycling solutions from concept to prototype.

The ReCell Center is a collaboration between the DoE’s Argonne National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and several US universities.

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