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Processing used batteries is science, but it pays off

Processing used batteries is science, but it pays off Despite the higher performance and durability of modern battery types, their overall consumption in the Czech Republic has been rising steadily over the past seven years, rising by 19 percent over the past seven years. There is certainly a growing number of battery-powered electronic devices that we buy and use.

Traditionally, the Czechs do not handle the batteries economically - only about six-fifths of the batteries sold on the Czech market are rechargeable batteries.

"Rechargeable batteries are more expensive, require charger and are not suitable for all types of electronic devices. However, their purchases are generally worthwhile, as they can handle dozens of recharge cycles without loss of capacity, saving consumers and the environment, " says Radim Tlapák (

Recycling household batteries

The ecological point of view is very important in the context of battery consumption as the damage to nature occurs when the raw materials are extracted for production, and even if they are not disposed of. For example, two-thirds of the world's cobalt production, necessary for the production of Li-Ion batteries, will be harnessed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, regardless of the ecology of mining and often using child labor . Industrial synthesis of nickel and copper cobalt covers only about two percent of global consumption. Known cobalt stocks are also found in North America and Australia, but they are unlikely to benefit from ecological reasons. Increasing the volume of cobalt production to cover global consumption would take many years.

Therefore, it is reasonable to always consider whether the battery should really be thrown out. "People often throw away used batteries too soon when they are not completely discharged. Batteries that drop the voltage are no longer enough to run energy-intensive devices, but can be used for example in the remote control, alarm clock or other small electronics. They can actually recycle them at home in different devices, " explains Radim Tlapák how people can save their money and the environment.

Separation of raw materials

In the case of batteries, recycling can not quite be said because old batteries can not be re-manufactured. However, it is very unsuitable to dispose of used batteries into mixed waste, at least because different types of batteries can contain dangerous substances. Therefore, it is necessary to put them in special collection boxes, often located, for example, in electronics stores. If you are going to throw out an appliance with an integrated battery, use special containers for electrical waste . Also do not remove batteries from plastic packaging that incorporates, for example, removable laptop batteries. "All batteries from the collection boxes as well as complete electronic devices containing the inserted batteries are sorted. The batteries are separated from the electrical equipment and are then categorized according to their type and chemical composition. Only then is the separation of materials that can be repeatedly used, " says David Vandrovec, REMA Group's director of battery and electrical equipment recovery.

The batteries used can be separated, for example, from iron and manganese, that is, raw materials suitable for use in the steel industry. Additionally, zinc, nickel and cadmium can be obtained from batteries by chemical processes. It always depends on their composition and process that will be selected for the separation of raw materials. A simpler method of processing used batteries is their crushing, which takes place after the mechanical separation of metals, paper and plastics. The resulting material, which contains carbon, manganese and zinc oxides, is further worked in a similar manner to the treatment of manganese and zinc ores.

What about electric-battery batteries?

While batteries from mobile phones, laptops and other small electronics are a lot but also contain a relatively small amount of harmful or reusable substances, in the near future we will have to deal with the disposal or reuse of large batteries from electric vehicles. According to some studies, up to millions of batteries may be in the next 20 years. " High-capacity Li-Ion batteries from electric vehicles and hybrids are unlikely to be dismantled or separated into further materials. However, they offer a whole host of other uses, especially as a power supply for bridging short power outages, " concluded Radim Tlapák.

Extensive reusability of batteries that will no longer be able to fully power electric cars is mainly offered when storing electricity from solar or other renewable sources. Just storing this energy will be a major problem in the future, which can also help solve used batteries.

Source: tz, edited editorially

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