Tesla has presented a patent application to recover part of the nickel and the cobalt of the batteries that have completed its useful life. These are two critical elements for the manufacture of lithium-ion cells, but that by various factors - in some cases controversial - are becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to achieve.
The Tesla Patent , entitled "Metallic sulfate manufacturing system by electrochemical dissolution," addresses the recycling of the aforementioned raw materials. In case this solution can be applied, the aforementioned elements of the old batteries could be recovered, according to the patent that it collects Teslarati. p>
Metals recovered could be used to manufacture new batteries. In this way, the pressure that exists on the supply chain would be partially alleviated. Tesla, in addition, could reduce your expenses. Cobalt has increased by 62.64% since September 2019 and nickel by 9.25% in the same period of time, according to Investing.com.
"Nickel and cobalt sulfates are used as Raw materials for cathode materials of lithium-ion batteries, metal nickel-hydride battery cathodes and nickel-cadmium battery cathodes. Sometimes it is difficult or expensive to buy metallic sulfate products on the market due to its limited availability, "says the document.
In that line, Tesla wants to place the cells of the batteries in an electrolytic bath container . "Relatively diluted" sulfuric acid was also used in an electrochemical dissolution device with an anode and a cathode. This would allow to synthesize a metallic sulfate compound from the cathodes. So, during the electrolytic bath process, and Applying low voltage current, it would be possible to extract nickel and cobalt from cells, as long as these metals are in good condition. p>
Recently Tesla closed an agreement with BHP, one of the largest nickel producing companies. The automotive ensures that the raw material will proceed with one of the "most sustainable and low carbon emission origins".
Panasonic, the main supplier of cells for Tesla batteries, said a year ago They plan to manufacture their batteries totally cobalt "in two or three years". The electric automaker, on the other hand, is making an effort so that the extraction of this raw material is developed according to responsible working conditions. p>