U.S. research institute commends SK battery recycling tech
Argonne National Laboratory, a state-designated research institution, said SK Innovation’s method of extracting metal from used batteries reduces the emission of pollutants compared to obtaining the same type of metal through traditional methods, such as from mines or lakes.
The institution said that extracting lithium hydroxide from used batteries through recycling technology developed by SK Innovation reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 74 percent compared to producing it by obtaining lithium through mining. It reduces pollutant emissions by 41 percent compared to obtaining it from salt lake brine.
Using lithium hydroxide obtained from batteries to produce anodes, a core component of lithium-ion batteries, will also reduce green house gas emissions by 47 percent compared to using the metal obtained through mining.
SK Innovation said that preemptively extracting lithium hydroxide from used batteries before extracting other chemicals is crucial to its technology.
“Once you extract lithium hydroxide, extracting other metals such as nickel, cobalt and manganese becomes easier and more efficient,” said a spokesman for SK Innovation. “This way, use of chemicals harmful to the environment when extracting metal dramatically decreases, ultimately having a positive effect on the environment.”
Finding ways to utilize used electric vehicle (EV) batteries in an eco-friendly and economic way has become a major issue for EV manufacturers and battery makers amid growing demand for EVs globally.
Extracting metal from used batteries emerged as one economic option, but the emission of harmful pollutants during the extracting process has been an issue.
“SK Innovation was able to develop recycling technology that leads to eco-friendly ways of securing necessary anode material,” said Lee Sung-joon, director of SK Innovation Environment Science Technology Center.
SK Innovation’s technology has been evaluated by Argonne National Laboratory’s Greet (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Technologies) model developed by the laboratory funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
It assesses the environmental impact on transportation and energy sectors and has been used by various global firms including General Motors, Ford, Exxon Mobil and Shell in partnership with the laboratory.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [email@example.com]