BY LAUREN ROMAN // Business Development Director Metals & Minerals
The growing momentum in the electric vehicle industry is pushing battery repurposing, recycling, and disposal up the agenda. The onus on battery life cycle management globally is placed on vehicle manufacturers, over the actual battery manufacturers. This obligation to sustainably manage battery materials is also a financial and reputational opportunity, given the vast second-life potential for electric vehicle batteries (EVBs) and the fast-emerging circular economy.
Further up the chain, the car dealerships, independent garages and auto recyclers are going to wind up with these batteries, which can then move onwards in the value chain to be repurposed into energy storage batteries. It’s worth remembering that a ‘dead’ EVB will retain 70% or more of its charge, which, while no longer powerful enough for a car, is plenty for 10 or even 12 more years’ use in backup storage for renewable energy in both domestic and power grid settings.
At Everledger, we are working with a wide number of stakeholders to raise awareness on the potential benefits of optimum battery lifecycle management, as well as developing technology solutions to register, track and transfer these valuable assets. The Everledger Platform is continuously evolving to dedicate specific features for the electric vehicle industry. Each battery can have its own ‘passport’: a digital identity that connects the battery and critical parts to the internet with IoT so it can be managed on a distributed technology platform. EV makers can then track and report the lifetime journey of each battery, demonstrating its sustainable management from first use to repurposing and eventually responsible recycling
In real time, EV manufacturers and other interested parties will know if a battery has been properly serviced and repaired. Are replacement parts authentic? Has the battery been in an accident? If it was repurposed, where is it now? Is it being used for energy storage in a commercial or residential setting? Has the battery been recycled? How much and what type of materials have been recovered and what is the carbon offset of those recovered metals?
At end-of-life, there will be evidence about whether batteries have been responsibly managed, as well as accounts of critical metals for recapture and manufacture of new batteries well into the future.
The Everledger Platform will also host a battery exchange where recyclers and repurposers can locate available batteries — and where garages and auto recyclers can post information about the batteries they have acquired. By creating a used battery marketplace, we can match these two needs together. Stories are already emerging about improperly stored lithium-ion batteries: a ticking time bomb given their toxic and combustible nature — and also a wasted financial and environmental opportunity.
Our vision is to transform EVBs from a by-product of the e-automotive revolution into a valuable asset that propels its growth. The aim is to future-proof new batteries and to salvage the ones that are lost in the system.
Share the benefits
In order to create this solution, we closely engage all stakeholders in the value chain to fully understand their challenges and how this technology can address them. A good example has been our engagement with the U.S. Department of Energy, where we won Phase 1 of their Lithium Ion Battery Recycling Prize, and worked with the likes of Ford Motor Company to exemplify how this process maps out.
The benefits of the Everledger Platform for the auto industry are wide-ranging, including regulatory compliance, improved safety, responsible end-of-life recovery and extended longevity of critical metals. By knowing the state of health and condition of each battery type, asset owners can increase the value of used EVs and their batteries, as well as screen out batteries unsuitable for repurposing.
For individual stakeholders along the chain, the platform brings real advantages. For example, auto recyclers might have previously turned EVs away if they didn’t know what kind of battery they had and their best options for managing it.
OEMs that want to repurpose batteries before recycling — but were put off by liability concerns — will gain confidence in transfer of EVB titles on the blockchain. Energy storage repurposers, faced with falling battery prices, will realize improved process efficiency with access to battery condition and other data in advance of acquiring them. The platform can help ensure they only buy usable batteries and spend less time on evaluation.
Meanwhile, EV battery manufacturers will be looking to secure a long-term supply of minerals for their products. Knowing that their batteries are being put to maximum use and being recovered after use will help to ensure that. For recyclers, sourcing EVBs in the emerging industry could prove a challenge. Now, they can rely on the exchange to find what they need and where, saving lots in transportation costs.
There is a danger that the rapid, organic growth of EVs will result in a haphazard and fractured system for battery re-use and recycling — an anti-system — that is unsafe, inefficient, wasteful, and non-compliant. Everledger stands in the way of that missed opportunity. Our platform can join the dots for a circular value chain, in partnership with the industry.