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NTU part of major research project to give electric vehicle batteries a ‘second life’

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is part of a £4.5 million research project to establish a process to recycle or reuse electric vehicle batteries to help prevent up to nine million tons of battery waste per year going to landfill.


NTU part of major research project to give electric vehicle batteries a ‘second life’ p
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A £582,000 grant has been awarded to the university’s Advanced Design and Manufacturing Engineering Centre (ADMEC) as part of the European-wide REBELION project which looks to give used electric vehicle Lithium-ion batteries a ‘second life’ or recycle them in a more efficient way.

Research shows that with reconditioning, the majority of electric vehicle batteries would be able to last another ten years after their capacity has fallen below 75 per cent. But the majority of Lithium-ion batteries in general are sent to landfill or incinerated and many of the first generation electric vehicles will soon reach their end of life.

The project – which is supported by the European Horizon programme and incorporates 11 organisations from across Europe – will also establish how recycling electric vehicle batteries could create a major source of Lithium-ion on the continent.

The main aims of the project include developing:

  • Technology to sort used batteries into those suitable for a ‘second life’ and those which should be recycled
  • Automated methods to dismantle batteries so that they can be recycled more efficiently
  • A safety protocol for the recycling and reusing process and designing safety box containers for safe battery transportation and storage
  • A standardised labelling system to provide data on second life batteries
  • An analysis of how well the proposed models of recycling and repurposing perform
  • A roadmap to the market for individual and joint business models

The NTU team will develop the information communication technology (ICT) platform and infrastructure. The team will also develop methods in relation to traceability of batteries, digital battery passports, ecolabelling and the calculation of eco-cost and eco-savings. The team will also contribute to repurposing second life batteries in lighting products.

Partners in the project include Universitat Politechnica de Valenica, Accurec-Recycling, Sig de Raee Y Pilas Sociedad Limitada, Ona Product SL, Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia, University of Birmingham, Fondazione Icons, Erion Energy, Erion Compliance Organization Scarl and Volkswagen Group Italia SPA.

Professor Daizhong Su, Head of ADMEC which sits in NTU’s School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment (ADBE), said:

“With the increased volume of electric vehicle batteries coming towards their end of life, it’s imperative that there’s a quick and accurate way to predict a battery’s future life in order to maximise second-life applications.

Recycling is the most environmentally-friendly way to deal with batteries after their second life and has the potential to turn them into a major economic resource in Europe, with a value of up to £23 billion per year, as the raw materials they contain can be used for further manufacturing.

This is an exciting project which has the potential to make the electric vehicle industry even more sustainable and help prevent up to nine million tons of battery waste per year going to landfill by 2040. We look forward to working with our partners to help create sustainable solutions for many of the future challenges of the electric vehicle industry.”


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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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