Battery recycling and reuse are quickly becoming more important as the market for electric vehicles develops. The technique of recycling batteries has been around for a while, but never on the scale that we will see with lithium-ion batteries from electric cars and trucks. One would believe that there is nothing new to discover in this world, but Graphmatech, Graphenea, and Northvolt, three young and ambitious businesses, beg to differ.
After successfully producing graphene oxide at an industrial pilot scale from end-of-life EV batteries, those businesses declare a breakthrough in battery recycling. The extraction of the metals and minerals that Northvolt employs to make batteries is the first step in the graphene oxide up-cycling process. The same steps are still followed, but Graphmatech and Graphenea can now extract graphene oxide from the leftover material rather than discarding it.
Emma Nehrenheim, Chief Environmental Officer of Northvolt, called the upcycling of graphene oxide from discarded batteries “a remarkable development in our pursuit of a sustainable battery business in Europe.” We can recover the wealth of valuable minerals found in batteries to lessen our reliance on mining and generating new resources. We are honored to have played a part in this advancement.
According to Jesus de la Fuente, CEO of Graphenea Advanced Materials, producing graphene oxide from used batteries increases the sustainability and efficiency of the entire graphene value chain.
It is a dream come true to secure our supply chain in association with Northvolt and Graphenea. Recycled batteries will help us make the shift to a greener economy, said Mamoun Taher, CEO of Graphmatech.
Maximizing the environmental friendliness of battery manufacture was a major topic of discussion when we spoke with Northvolt founder and CEO Peter Carlsson about Northvolt’s beginnings and future intentions a few years ago (see here, here, and here). At Northvolt, sustainability is not just a catchphrase or a marketing gimmick; rather, it is essential to both the company’s continued existence and its expansion strategies. Therefore, it is not unexpected to see that this battery manufacturer is pioneering and setting the standard in this regard.
This is encouraging news for expanding home supply of this battery component since European nations normally import graphene oxide.
To start off the process, Northvolt slightly modifies its own recycling procedure to produce enough graphite for Graphmatech. In order to provide Graphmatech with a feed of graphite-based material of adequate quality to permit upcycling into graphene oxide, Northvolt has aided Graphmatech by refining its recycling process at Northvolt Labs recycling plant.
The use of graphene oxide in upcoming batteries is not mentioned. It is not useful for that. It is helpful in other cleantech domains, though. The firms point out that the hydrogen pressure containers and pipes that may be made with graphene oxide produced by Graphmatech leak 40 percent less hydrogen than those made with existing technology. Many people believe that hydrogen-powered ships and even aircraft are essential for entirely decarbonizing transportation. Making those significantly more cost-competitive would need a startling 40 percent reduction in leakage.
According to Graphmatech, Graphenea, and Northvolt, modified graphene oxide can be combined with metals to produce materials that are more conductive, durable, and robust than alternatives while consuming less metal. This makes it a desirable and practical material for the green transition.
If you’re not familiar with Northvolt, the battery startup/giant, browse through our huge archives. However, I suppose that not many people are aware of the other two firms, so here are brief descriptions of each one:
With clients in more than 60 countries and offices in San Sebastin (Spain) and Boston, Graphenea is a technological firm that was founded in 2010. It specializes in the manufacturing of graphene oxide and CVD graphene (USA). Graphenea assists its customers by generating novel types of graphene, such as graphene oxides and graphene field effect transistor chips, while preserving its dominance in the rapidly growing graphene production industry. With their graphene-based additives that add value and improve the performance of materials, Graphenea Advanced Materials aims to revolutionise industrial sectors.
For the green transition, Graphmatech AB offers innovative next-generation materials. The company is well recognized for its battery additives using graphene, conductive polymers for 3D printing, and metals for electrification. Graphmatech is a privately held Swedish firm that was spun off from Uppsala University in 2017. Its crew is multicultural and represents eight different countries. Learn more at AA1.
Featured photo provided by Northvolt .
Do you value the unique reporting and cleantech news coverage on CleanTechnica? Consider becoming a patron on Patreon or a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador.