Power battery will bring industries into lithium age 05-12-2016

2015 saw an all-time high of the sales of domestic alternative energy vehicles: China produced an accumulated total of 379,000 alternative energy vehicles in 2015, up by 400% over 2014. In 2009-2015, China manufactured 497,000 alternative energy vehicles altogether, 30%+ of global alternative energy vehicle sales, according to statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China (MIIT).

Such large quantities of alternative energy vehicles will bring a considerable amount of waste power battery. How to make comprehensive utilisation of these waste power batteries is a concern of the government as well as the society.

Policy: a look at the “vehicle aftermarket”

The Chinese policies for the promotion of alternative energy vehicle is gradually transferring from subsidy on purchase, to application environment and further to the “aftermarket”. In Jan. 2016, MIIT released the Regulations for the Comprehensive Utilisation of Waste Power Battery from Alternative Energy Vehicle (Exposure Draft) and the Interim Measures for the Administration of the Announcement about the Comprehensive Utilisation of Waste Power Battery from Alternative Energy Vehicle (Exposure Draft), to solicit public opinions.

Now China’s research on power battery are aimed at improving the safety and extending battery lifespan, seldom on the recycling issue.

There are 2 ways to dispose waste power battery: one is to scrap and dismantle as industrial wastes, to further extract and recycle raw materials, the other is to use the battery specifically with less than 80% capacity as the carrier of energy in other fields so as to realise its residual value.

Comprehensive utilisation: full of difficulties and challenges

Before waste power battery can be used as energy storage battery, several problems remains to be solved.

First, how to dismantle the waste power battery is still a question. As different vehicles have different designs of battery pack structure and module link pattern, it is not possible to apply one disassembly line to all battery packs and internal modules.

Second, it is hard to precisely predict the residual lifespan.

"Cost control and business mode are rather difficult to develop," according to Chen Quanshi, director of Electric Vehicle Division, Society of Automobile Engineers of China, "Judging from the current situation, the comprehensive utilisation of waste power battery still needs subsidy from government.”

Power battery expected to bring industries into the “lithium” age

Since alternative energy vehicle is promoted, the comprehensive utilisation of waste power battery has received little attention. However, it is necessary to solve the problem, as the industrialisation of the alternative energy vehicle business has brought large quantities of waste power batteries.

The best solution is to make comprehensive use of the batteries that are no longer applicable to alternative energy vehicles but still capable of storing electricity. If power battery is fully and comprehensively used, it will facilitate the upgrading of a few industries such as power station, electric bicycle, and low-velocity electric vehicle.

- Energy storage battery

Currently, the domestic-developed energy storage battery is mainly used for power storage in communication base station and the UPS power storage in big data centres and banks. For this, the leading energy storage battery is lead-acid battery, which is cheap and at low costs for maintenance.

Waste power battery, usually 90% cheaper than new battery, is quite competitive - it boasts higher price-performance ratio and higher energy density than lead-acid battery. For the moment, it must be guaranteed that waste power battery has a sound BMS system, or the safety and reliability will be greatly reduced.

- Electric bicycle

Electric bicycle has a penetration of 200 million units into the market, as a very common transportation tool to consumers. Accordingly, 90% of such bicycles adopt lead-acid battery whilst only 10% use Li-ion battery.

With the economic development and the improvement of people’s living quality, consumers increasingly value the factors such as quality, appearance, property, intelligentisation, etc. And only small, light and high-capacity Li-ion battery can meet these needs. Waste power battery is more competitive in the market because it can better match electric bicycle in terms of costs.

Alternative energy vehicle industry emerges with a backdrop of energy conservation and emission reduction. In this business, the extensive development pattern should be removed, to establish a more efficient and refined recyclable economic development pattern so as to conserve energy and reduce emissions, instead of merely pursuing the scale effect.


* News on China Youth Daily, translated by CCM.


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Tag: alternative energy  Battery  lithium

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