Bosch to build Europe’s first fully automated battery recycling plant

Bosch Rexroth to supply Battery Lifecycle Company with fully automated system for discharging and disassembling EV battery modules; plant in Magdeburg, will recycle up to 15,000 metric tons of battery materials per annum

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 06 Apr 2023 Views icon4305 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Bosch is taking firm steps towards enhanced sustainability and EV battery recycling. As the global transition towards EVs takes shape, Bosch estimates that EVs will account for around 70% of all newly registered passenger cars in Europe by 2030. This is increasing demand for batteries and for the recycling of the raw materials they contain, such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel.

Bosch has developed special machinery, equipment, and software for this purpose. Its subsidiary Bosch Rexroth is supplying Battery Lifecycle Company, a joint venture between REMONDIS subsidiary TSR Recycling and Rhenus Automotive, with Europe’s first fully automated system for discharging and disassembling battery modules.

“Electromobility can only establish itself in the long term if sufficient raw materials are available for battery production. Recycling plays a key role here, and helps place our output on a sustainable footing: we reuse what we use, and we recover raw materials,” said Dr Stefan Hartung, chairman of the Bosch board of management.

Experts predict that by 2030, Europe will require recycling capacity for up to 420,000 metric tons of battery material each year. “If we want to build a European circular economy, we need to integrate recycling firmly into the product lifecycle and create the necessary infrastructure to do so.

Bosch is contributing its technical expertise to this,” added Hartung says. Bosch will showcase industrial technology for battery recycling at Hannover Messe (April 17–21, 2023).

Efficient recycling key to circular economy

According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, the technical systems required for recycling will require investment of more than 6 billion euros by 2040 in Europe alone. Recycling will be worthwhile: optimum recycling can recover up to 95% of a battery’s chemical elements and recycle them into the battery production process.

The automated discharging system developed by Bosch not only simplifies recycling, but also increases efficiency and enhances safety: it takes just a few minutes to deep-discharge a module. The system recognises different battery designs, minimising risks such as short circuits and fires.

Speedy recycling tech

Battery Lifecycle Company is building Europe’s first fully automated plant at its site in Magdeburg, with Bosch Rexroth supplying the technology. The site will test used batteries from different manufacturers, deep-discharge them, and prepare them for subsequent shredding. The new plant’s workpiece carriers will each transport battery materials weighing up to 150 kilograms at a speed of 18 metres per second. This means that it will take less than 15 minutes to automatically discharge eight lithium-ion batteries from electric cars.

Bosch says its automated solution will greatly increase the speed of recycling: with the manual process currently used, it takes up to 24 hours to deep-discharge a battery. The model project in Magdeburg is the first to use this patented Bosch discharging solution: battery modules will be chemically deactivated in a reliable process, ensuring that further processing can take place without voltage.

The residual energy in the modules can be used to operate the recycling system. In addition, the site will use proven Bosch industrial technology for battery production on-site, including flexible, modular transfer systems and the ctrlX AUTOMATION control platform. Each year, the Battery Lifecycle Company site will recycle up to 15,000 metric tons of battery materials. The plant is scheduled to go into operation in mid-2023.

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