Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
i-MiEV battery recycling in Australia. Photo courtesy Majella Waterworth.

Batteries

Battery Recycling — Home Grown

A big issue amongst those of us with environmental concerns is: What happens to the batteries? It is a fair question and one that deserves to be taken seriously and answered properly. Even RedEarth, which supplies stationary home batteries, finds this the most common customer concern. We can point to large firms like Redwood Materials and talk about shredding and refining and recovering, but perhaps there is a battery recycling step before that?

At a recent visit to Substation33 — a social enterprise that repurposes techno waste — I was treated to a story which is illustrative of the circular economy as it applies to electric vehicle batteries.

An early adopter of an electric vehicle bought a Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Although she initially found its range adequate for her needs, when battery upgrades became available, she had the work done by OZDIY. The used prismatic batteries from the i-MiEV were then sold to Substation33. At S33 these batteries were tested and repurposed to power signs warning of flooded roads. One i-MiEV battery will power 50 signs, and one sign has the potential to save many lives.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Photo courtesy Majella Waterworth

Substation33 is busy at the moment, as it is fulfilling orders for flooded road warning systems for Brisbane City Council. As the third year of La Niña approaches, they will be put to good use. Last wet season, Brisbane experienced over one metre of rain in a few days. Many areas in Queensland and New South Wales were flooded, some twice.

Repurposing EV batteries into flood warning signs is a great example of what can be done once they are no longer suitable to power an EV.

Substation33 also recycles batteries from digital devices. Since 2020 they have refurbished and delivered over 4000 recycled laptops to state schools in the Logan area south of Brisbane. Next year they will adopt the motto “2023 in ’23,” referring to the number of computers they hope to refurbish and deliver into the hands of local students and families.

Tony Sharp, Founder and Manager of S33, tells me that since my last visit 12 months ago, S33 has doubled the number of people it employs, doubled the income, and doubled its footprint. “We have no grand vision,” he says. “We just take the next step.”

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
 

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Advertisement
 
Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

Comments

You May Also Like

Cars

The US car buying public loves big vehicles, and now they are going to love big electric vehicles.

Batteries

Redwood Materials Is close to choosing a location for its first battery recycling factory in Europe. The cost of electricity will be a key...

Batteries

Redwood Materials is planning to expand its battery recycling operations in Nevada with a new 74-acre development.

Batteries

As the electric vehicle market matures, battery recycling and reuse rapidly becomes a bigger deal. Battery recycling is a long established practice, but never...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.