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[News Article] Hyundai Motor bets on battery recycling business


Hyundai Motor bets on battery recycling business 


By Kim Hyun-bin, The Korea Times - Hyundai Motor Group has begun a company-wide initiative to enter the waste battery business at home and abroad, according to company officials Thursday. Kia signed a contract recently to supply waste batteries with a German state-owned railway company, and Hyundai Motor formed a task force team for the waste battery business in a joint venture with Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Glovis.


Kia Europe Corp. signed a contract to supply waste batteries collected from its electric vehicles (EV) sold in Europe to Encore, an energy storage system (ESS) startup of German state-owned railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB). DB is the largest railroad company in Germany as well as pan-Europe.


Encore is already in the process of collecting waste batteries for recycling and reuse in Europe using DB's infrastructure. Kia and Encore already launched an ESS prototype using waste batteries in Berlin last month.


This prototype, made with Soul EV batteries recovered by local Kia dealers, has a total capacity of 72 kWh and operates on self-generation with solar power.


An ESS is designed to purchase and store electricity at a low price during the nighttime when demand is low and to save surplus energy for when it is needed during peak hours. In particular, it is the only alternative that can store electricity from eco-friendly power plants, such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric plants, which is difficult to store due to inconsistency in power generation.


Hyundai Motor Group is already preparing a blueprint for the waste battery business by forming a task force in Korea. The goal is to procure waste batteries from junkyards and dealers through Hyundai Glovis, in charge of logistics, and to use batteries remanufactured through Hyundai Mobis, for old vehicles and replacement batteries.


"Large corporations are entering the waste battery recycling market to create a virtuous cycle of sustainable resources and better help to secure necessary battery materials and resources," an industry official said.


If the recycled batteries are diagnosed and their performance remains at 80 percent to 90 percent, they are reused for EVs after undergoing a remanufacturing process. If the residual performance is at the level of 60 percent to 70 percent, they are reused in charging facilities such as ESS.


Hyundai Motor is researching recycling waste batteries to use them as auxiliary means such as solar power generation. Waste batteries whose residual performance has fallen below 60 percent go through a recycling process by recovering the raw materials such as nickel and cobalt for reuse in new batteries.


The collection and transportation of waste batteries is handled by Hyundai Glovis. Hyundai Motor Group plans to actively utilize a battery transportation platform container, for which Hyundai Glovis acquired a patent last year. The container is said to have improved efficiency and safety by making it possible to transport batteries in multiple layers all at once.


"The U.S. is trying to exclude China from the battery supply chain through the IRA," said Lee Jong-hyung, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities. "As an alternative to reducing dependence on China for key battery materials and increasing the proportion of products in the U.S., recycling of waste batteries will be of assistance."


Source: www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2022/09/419_336115.html