American Resources Corporation is developing a process to separate pure rare earth metals from lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles or power plants based on renewable energy. The technique is described as a two-zone ligand-assisted displacement chromatography (LAD) that is able to produce metals with high yields and purity of over 99%.
The EU today confirmed natural gas-fired power and heat generation facilities can qualify for Covid-recovery spending as long as they fulfil a maximum emission target or are accompanied by credible member-state plans to ramp up renewables usage.
Companies from a dozen EU member states will commit the public funds in a bid to come up with novel battery chemistries and production methods as well as recycling and circular economy innovation.
Separating backsheets from solar PV modules is one of the most challenging issues for module recycling, because of the glues involved. Given the difficulties in pulling apart the layers, which are typically made of virgin plastic, they are usually burned. However, there are some industry players taking steps to improve the design, recyclability and reusability of backsheets. One of them is Italy-based Coveme, which recently partnered with pv magazine’s UP Initiative. In the following interview, CEO Amedeo Maccolini explains what the company is doing to step UP its sustainability game.
Last week, the European Commission announced it plans to implement sustainability standards for Europe’s growing battery industry. Consultant Circular Energy Storage published a report on lithium-ion battery life cycle and recycling economics this month and its findings ask tough questions of the commission’s proposals.
The world’s second largest battery market is mulling strict regulation of what type of products can be sold within it. The bloc wants to tighten rules on using hazardous materials and would encourage circular economy approaches. The scope of the commission’s proposal would also affect the design of devices, with phones, laptops and other portable gadgets without removable batteries set to be prohibited.
Compared to other techniques based on chemical reactors and organic solvents, the proposed method is said to be able to maintain a “good mechanical yield” in the recovered solar cells. According to its creators, this technique allows the reuse of silicon from the recycled panels in the production of new solar cells.
Rising volumes of solar capacity are to be welcomed but, as panelists at a session of today’s SolarPower Europe event discussed, the technology must be kept ethical and responsible. That means industry working together; new, harmonized, mandatory and voluntary policy instruments; and a focus on quantifiable, life cycle-based investor criteria.
Given the number of batteries (primarily lithium-ion) that are required to decarbonize the power and mobility sectors, the industry is now preparing for a mountain of battery waste. Recycling is technically feasible, but is also subject to sensitive economics. The framework in which recycling companies can achieve the best life-cycle costs for batteries needs to be carefully enabled through policy – and it will likely include a mixture of technologies and business models, in order to allow life-cycle emissions of batteries to be brought down.
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