Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling

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High Voltage Batteries – an extraction solution from ELVs

Eliot Smith, Director at Pro-Moto tells us about a safer solution to extracting high voltage batteries from vehicles at their end-of-life which will ultimately decide their fate.

 

High Voltage Batteries - an extraction solution from ELVs - Eliot Smith
Eliot Smith

Nobody wants a high voltage battery. Consider this; what do you do with a fully charged high voltage battery when it’s time to take it out of a vehicle with the amount of energy in it, let alone the harmful chemicals and the risk of it short-circuiting or catching fire?

These batteries are going to be around for a long time. There are already millions of them on the market worldwide, and this number is set to increase. Therefore, we need some solutions to the challenges that are heading our way.

Pro-Moto has been dealing in this technology since it first came to Europe over twenty years ago. The company is familiar with the types of issues that can occur from high voltage batteries, such as, the design, engineering, manufacture, maintenance, testing and diagnostics of electrically-propelled vehicle powertrain systems.

One aspect of high voltage batteries is that they will always be charged, but how are they valued?

When Pro-Moto considered this issue, three outcomes were looked at:

  1. Recycle
  2. Repurpose
  3. Remanufacture

To do these, the condition of the battery must first be judged; a task which is not easy once it has been removed from the vehicle; it’s a bit like trying to estimate how much is in a fuel tank without a fuel gauge!

To discover the condition of a vehicle’s battery, there are two options:

  1. Test it with some expensive equipment to put it under load conditions similar to a vehicle (possible but not straightforward, plus this method is time consuming, let alone risky) or 
  2. Data can be extracted from the vehicle system.
High Voltage Batteries - an extraction solution from ELVs
Prius battery

All HV Battery systems are managed by a control unit and most of them record the condition of the battery cells and pack as a whole. They should save data regarding the current condition of the battery. Two crucial factors that help decide the value of a battery will be its State of Charge (SOC) and its State of Health (SOH).

SOH tells us at what stage in the battery’s life it is in, which in turn will tell us what use and value it is – a bit like looking at the mileage on the speedo to judge the age of the engine. And batteries are like engines, they age depending on the type of use they get. Short journeys, long journeys, temperature, climate, type of charging and driving style can affect a battery’s SOH.

Pro-Moto are working on a simple solution to extract this data to tell the user the condition of the battery during its life and after its removal from the vehicle.

This data can be recorded during its life at key service points of the vehicle and uploaded to a central server that can be made accessible to those who need to know. Even before the vehicle is dismantled, a judgement can be made on the value and more importantly what to do with it!

Exciting times ahead and hopefully lucrative ones for all in the recycling and dismantling business.

To find out more about what Pro-Moto does, please visit www.pro-moto.co.uk

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