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Old 01-21-2022, 07:59 AM   #1
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Recycling Lithium Batteries

I know people have talked about this, but this is the first article like this that I have seen lately, and it is one of the things that I have always wondered about (along with the range of an electric RV).

Anyway I thought this was interesting.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:35 PM   #2
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There's no question that this problem will be solved. Just like the issues with range, charging stations, and all the rest.

The future is now.
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Old 01-21-2022, 02:31 PM   #3
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These types of articles always give me hope at first, but its' usually short lived. Color me cynical, because I have seen the enemy, and he is us.

I see two issues with articles like this. While it's great that technology is working on solutions, these solutions may never get implemented due to market forces - like cost added to manufacturing, and ultimately the added cost to the consumer. The second is the lag between problem and solution. Right now the electrification train is gathering speed which in turn is growing a larger and larger mass of materials that must be eventually dealt with. Battery power going to follow Jevon's Paradox just like so many other things. Look at what has happened to the whole conventional recycling industry. We have multi colored bins and signs for recycling simple stuff, yet once the cheap labor to process the stuff is lost, and it cost too much to process the waste, your fancy blue bin with the triple green arrow logo on the top gets emptied in a landfill with all the other trash. Even today, with the technology to deal with a lot of it, we've overwhelmed the system because it isn't as easy or a cheap to deal with large amounts as it is small amounts. The world is producing more than it can dispose of. This will only get worse as more of the world population moves up in class and the total population grows. We aren't talking about recycling plastic bags or cardboard here. At best, I see future battery companies putting a sticker on their battery saying "This battery contains 5% post consumer waste materials, YAY! The rest? It'll be buried along with all those millions of old solar panels, and windmill blades being installed today. Then there's all those consumer batteries in everything from you cell phone to your kid's toys. Heck, we can't even recycle all the tires from our cars, why does anyone think we'll recycle all the batteries? Like I said, I've seen the enemy.... and he's growing in numbers all the time.

The other problem is, battery and power generating technology is also moving quickly. The technology being researched in a lab to solve today's issues, may not be scalable to the industrial level quick enough. By the time a solution is found for one battery chemistry and design, another lab has created the next battery chemistry and design, and it's is roaring onto the market rendering the old solution obsolete along with the old battery. It's like fixing one source of pollution as the world moves on to producing a new different source of pollution. A dog chasing it's tail. As an example... Think back to earlier times when forests were being cut down to produce paper products for a growing middle class consumer market. Save the Trees!!! Along comes new technology - plastic! Yay! Problem solved! Fast forward a few decades, and ooops, now we have a new problem, and a worse one. Did I mention we can't even recycle all our tires??? Yeah, that pesky sense of hope I get doesn't last long.

Ok, sorry. I didn't mean to dump my cynicism recycling bin in your Cheerios, but I need to do SOMETHING with it! It was overflowing.

Time to carefully climb down off my soap box, precariously balanced on the back of my high horse. Besides, all this typing is playing heck on the lithium battery in my laptop. Pretty soon I'm going to have to get a new one. Hummm, what to do with the old one? No problem, I'll just throw it in the trash.
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Old 01-22-2022, 07:06 AM   #4
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I have seen this whole thing with "Oh, this is the next great step" before.

Back when I was young they told me that nuclear power was the next great step and the country would be full of nuclear power plants that produced electricity that cost little or nothing. Commercial companies only got into nuclear power plants because the government said that they would be producing power as a byproduct of their uranium enrichment plans and so they would just give the power away. Oh, and don't worry. We will solve the problem of what to do with all of that spent fuel before we have to worry about it. Now we are burying it because we never could solve the problem.

We seem to always be creating new problems by "solving" older problems, and this is just one more of those attempts. Oh, don't worry, they tell us. Electric vehicles will solve our pollution problems. Back when I was very young I believed them. Now, not so much.
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