Hyundai Motor bets on battery recycling
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By Kim Hyun-bin
Hyundai Motor Group has launched a company-wide initiative to enter the used battery business at home and abroad, company officials said Thursday. Kia recently signed a contract for the supply of used batteries with a German public railway company, and Hyundai Motor has formed a special team for the used battery sector in a joint venture with Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Glovis.
Kia Europe Corp. has signed a contract to supply used batteries collected from its electric vehicles (EVs) sold in Europe to Encore, an energy storage system (ESS) start-up of the German public railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) . DB is the largest railway company in Germany and all of Europe.
Encore is already collecting used batteries for recycling and reuse in Europe using DB’s infrastructure. Kia and Encore already launched an ESS prototype using used batteries in Berlin last month.
This prototype, made with Soul EV batteries collected by local Kia dealers, has a total capacity of 72 kWh and operates in self-generation with solar energy.
An ESS is designed to buy and store low-cost electricity overnight when demand is low and to save excess energy when needed during peak hours. In particular, it is the only alternative that can store electricity from environment-friendly power plants, such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power plants, which is difficult to store due to the inconsistency of power generation. electricity.
Hyundai Motor Group is already preparing a plan for the waste battery sector by forming a working group in Korea. The aim is to source used batteries from landfills and dealerships through Hyundai Glovis, in charge of logistics, and to use remanufactured batteries through Hyundai Mobis, for old vehicles and replacement batteries.
“Big companies are entering the used battery recycling market to create a virtuous cycle of sustainable resources and better help secure the materials and resources needed for batteries,” an industry official said.
If the recycled batteries are diagnosed and their performance remains at 80% to 90%, they are reused for electric vehicles after undergoing a refurbishment process. If the residual performance is at the 60-70% level, they are reused in recharging facilities such as the ESS.
Hyundai Motor is studying the recycling of used batteries to use them as auxiliary means such as the production of solar energy. Used batteries whose residual performance has fallen below 60% go through a recycling process by recovering raw materials such as nickel and cobalt for reuse in new batteries.
The collection and transport of used batteries is handled by Hyundai Glovis. Hyundai Motor Group plans to actively use a battery transport platform container, for which Hyundai Glovis acquired a patent last year. The container is said to have improved efficiency and safety by allowing batteries to be transported in multiple layers at once.
“The United States is trying to exclude China from the battery supply chain through the IRA,” said Lee Jong-hyung, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities. “As an alternative to reducing dependence on China for primary battery materials and increasing the proportion of products in the United States, recycling used batteries will be helpful.”