SAFARI-PS – Safe and Efficient EV Battery Recycling (Pre-Study)

To reach the goals of a sustainable and fossil free transport system, the amount of electrical vehicles (EV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) being produced and put on the market are steadily and quickly increasing. This creates a considerable need for designing sate and efficient processes for disassembling and recycling the battery packs from such vehicles. This is currently done manually, resulting in high costs and considerable safety risks for the human operators. This pre-study aims to analyse the possibilities and the necessary conditions needed to develop an autonomous robotic system that can identify, discharge and dismantle battery packs for EVs and HEVs, and to prepare a proposal for a full research project on this.

Summary:

To reach the goals of a sustainable and fossil free transport system, the number of electrical vehicles (EV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) being produced and put on the market are steadily increasing. In a previous research project called SCAR, financed by Batterifonden, it was estimated that there will be around 1 million EV and HEVs in the Swedish vehicle fleet by the year 2030. As a consequence, the automotive recycling industry needs to transform and develop new processes and technologies to deal with end-of-life components, such as the high voltage batteries, in a safe and efficient way. A process of great importance for the batteries and for any other product that is destined for recycling is the pre-treatment process. During this process the battery is discharged and disassembled inte its constituent components. However, today this process is based on time consuming and costly manual laber involving high risks due to the physical size and remaining charge in the batteries. Hence, to create truly sustainable transport and energy systems from a life cycle point of view, there is a great need to develop the batteries' pre-treatment processes. The long-term purpose of this pre-study is therefore to help enable a sustainable transition to a fossil free and electrified transportation system by creating sustainable end-of-life treatment processes for the batteries that are essential for the transition to take place, and to help build a strong Swedish battery recycling industry. In order to achieve this, this pre-study aims to analyze the possibilities and the necessary conditions needed to develop an autonomous robotic system that can identify, discharge and dismantle automotive battery packs, and to prepare for a subsequent research project.

An automated process would not only increase safety and efficiency of the Swedish recycling industry but also, since the electrification trend is global, it would give Swedish automation companies the possibility to export a much desired solution. Furthermore, if this kind of automation is successful for batteries, the developments have great possibilities of being transferred to not only other car components but to basically any other products or components, for example within the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) industry. To further increase the potential of this pre-study and since the battery design is one of the factors believed to influence the technical requirements of the future process the most, common design features that the robotic system has to perceive will be analysed and identified by Halmstad University.

Project period:

July 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019

Financer:

The Swedish Energy Agency

Involved partner:

Stena Recycling

Chalmers Industriteknik

The pre-study also has a reference group consisting of AB Volvo, Volvo Cars, Toyota Material Handling, ABB and Naturvårdsverket.

Project leader:

Björn Åstrandexternal link

updated

2019-11-18

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