Published on September 6th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Singapore Starts Battery Recycling For EV’s And Tech Devices
Southeast Asia’s First Battery Recycling Facility Is NOT In Malaysia.
With so much chatter on social media about sustainability in the last 2 years, Singapore has moved swiftly ahead of Malaysia in introducing solar power, electric vehicle (EV) charging to spur EV ownership and also battery recycling.
Even Indonesia and Thailand have started battery manufacturing facilities for EV’s and car manufacturers are already building factories in both countries to build next generation EV’s.
This is why E-waste recycling giant TES officially opened its multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art facility recently to recycle lithium batteries in Singapore. Known as TES B, the plant is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and has the daily capacity to recycle up to 14 tonnes or the equivalent of 280,000 lithium-ion smartphone batteries.
The Singapore government has also set-up a Battery Consortium. The Singapore Battery Consortium aims to promote the deployment of new battery technologies and products. By bringing together researchers, companies, and the public sector, the consortium will help companies access battery-related research for translation into novel products serve market needs. It is hosted at A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), and supported by the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), with SG2 million set aside over three years.
The facility uses a combination of mechanic equipment and hydrometallurgical processes to recover precious metals such as nickel, lithium, and cobalt. Partially powered by a 1MwH 2nd life Energy Storage System (ESS) that is fed by 350KwH of rooftop solar panels, it is the most sustainable battery recycling solution of its kind.
Ms Grace Fu, Singapore’s Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, officiated the facility’s opening this afternoon, together with Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment. Ms Fu was joined via video link by TES’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Steele, Chairman Terence Ng, and Navis Capital Senior Partner Jean-Christophe Marti. Senior government officials, including the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), industry partners, and clients were also present during the launch ceremony.
TES’s proprietary battery recycling technology closes the loop on the take-make-dispose model widely used in lithium battery manufacturing and disposal chains. The recovery rate of precious metals exceeds 90 percent and yields a purity level of almost 99 percent.
Thus, the metals TES recovers from lithium batteries are commercially ready for fresh battery production. The plant achieves this success via the use of shredders and separation equipment that convert the batteries into black mass, followed by a chemical treatment process that extracts precious metals including lithium and cobalt.
These closed loop processes are environmentally friendly, as they do not release secondary contaminants like heavy metals or volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere.
TES B was named project of the year by the Singapore Business Review’s Technology Excellence Awards 2020 and was recognized by the Reuters Responsible Business Awards 2020 in the Sustainability Innovation Award category.
Meanwhile, Malaysia has been quick to offer MOU’s, MoA’s and MAU’s in building a new National car, flying car and an ambitious number of charging stations but with no results in sight.
Greentech Malaysia and European EV car brands have talked about charging stations and EV adoption since 2015 with just a very small handful of results to show. In 2015 there was an ambitious plan to have 25,000 ChargeEV stations nationwide by 2020, this was before Covid-19 and today, we are do not see even 5 percent of that target up and running.
At the time ChargeEV was working with BMW i to get the network running and if you visit the website you will see the ‘I’ logo still showing. Then in late August 2021 BMW Malaysia launched their electric vehicle SUV ahead of Mercedes’s planned EV launch with a target to have their own DC Fast Chargers installed at all BMW i dealers for public use to further accelerate the availability of charging infrastructures in Malaysia, along with Rapid-charging DC Chargers to be made available for quick on-the-go charging at selected dealerships nationwide.
So, who in Malaysia will take battery recycling seriously as the thousands of ‘plug-in hybrids’ from Mercedes, BMW and Volvo start ageing and exhaust their batteries in coming months and years and look to a better disposal method of these batteries as well as the batteries of lap-tops, hand-phones and mobile devices around the country?
We wait for another MOU signing ceremony and see.