In March, electricity storage systems manufacturer Powertrust launched its “no lithium inside” initiative. The aim is to create awareness for the entire material cycle and to establish an alliance of storage battery manufacturers who provide sustainable solutions covering the entire life cycle of their products, from raw material procurement to recycling.
As early as 2014 the Bremen-based company decided – against the general trend – not to use lithium ion batteries in its stationary power storage systems. During transport, lithium ion batteries have to be treated as hazardous goods, they are temperature sensitive and are virtually impossible to recycle.
Although some storage battery manufacturers offer a take-back guarantee, that only shifts the problem of the lack of recycling from the operator to the producer. Those who have to dispose of lithium ion cells themselves have a real problem with hazardous waste.
With lead crystal batteries, on the other hand, the situation is very different. Due to their chemical properties they are neither hazardous goods nor can they ignite, either in the event of overheating or damage. At the end of their life cycle they provide valuable raw materials, 98% of which can be recycled and traded on the stock market by weight.
Describing the no lithium inside initiative, Powertrust CEO Mike Heger said: “We work in the field of renewable energy. It’s therefore our responsibility to consider the entire life cycle of our products. All the relevant processes need to be taken into account, from the procurement of raw materials and the appropriate operator concept to intelligent recycling.
“We can’t preach green on the one hand and at the same time burden the next generation with hazardous waste from stationary electricity storage systems. We aim to raise awareness of good, fully recyclable products. We are committed to ensuring that cell technology is always used in such a way that its strengths are in an optimal relationship to the environment.
“The guiding principle continues to be to first reduce consumption, then design the storage system appropriately, including heating requirements, electricity prices etc. We are excited about all those companies that think ahead, for whom green energy does not end with the sale of their product, but for whom environmental protection and recycling as much of that product as possible are part of their planning.”