Discussions with the Industry: Estimating the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Battery Recovery Methods
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Project VALUABLE, led by HSSMI, has been instrumental in shedding light on second life opportunities for li-ion batteries. As the project closed at the end of March, we are now sharing our findings in order to generate discussion amongst the public and, in particular, those who are looking to continue the research that VALUABLE began. In this blog series, we will be discussing a different battery-related topic each time – from testing and legislation to end of life, recycling and remanufacturing. This time, we explore the benefits of remanufacturing through the new HSSMI battery cost estimation methodology.
As lithium-ion battery costs remain high, it is important to consider ways of reaping maximum value from each pack once they reach end of service life, for example, through repairing, repurposing, recycling, and remanufacturing. In order to determine commercial viability of each method, it is important to define the trade-off between selling the used battery, investing further into new parts for repair or remanufacture, or paying for the recycling service.
To understand the impact battery design has on the costs associated with different battery recovery methods and their economic feasibility, HSSMI developed a battery lifecycle cost estimation methodology as part of the VALUABLE project. The methodology allows for the exploration of various scenarios and provides immediate feedback on which option is more economically viable. This enables an iterative approach where OEMs can understand which scenarios work and which do not and thus support decision making.
The market value of the given battery pack is taken as the basis for comparison in each potential scenario. This value is composed of the materials, manufacturing, and service costs, as well as overheads, buy-back cost and profit margin. Estimations of market value are achieved by automatically adjusting the bill of materials and manufacturing processes, based on details of the original and new products. The four main product prices that the methodology accounts for are: (1) the original battery design, (2) a remanufactured battery of the same design as the original, (3) a repurposed battery utilising harvested modules and (4) the cost of cell recycling. The methodology was further enhanced through collaboration with Aspire Engineering to include the expected value of part harvesting, cost of component validation tests and value recovery through recycling of the remaining battery components.
Case Study 1: Exploring Life Extension Business Cases with TEVVA
HSSMI worked together with TEVVA in the VALUABLE project. Using assembly process data from TEVVA’s battery packs, HSSMI was able to leverage the battery lifecycle cost estimation methodology to address TEVVA’s needs. The final results enabled TEVVA to explore different battery life extension business cases. The flexible nature of the methodology and the ability to analyse different module and pack architectures was key for success. Furthermore, the ability to alter commercial parameters, including margin and buy-back rates, allowed TEVVA to explore the financial implication of life extension and make a decision on design to enable maximum return once the battery reaches end of service.
Case Study 2: Rapid Value Recovery Assessment to Support the 3R’s Battery Service with Aspire Engineering
The role of Aspire Engineering in the VALUABLE project was to develop a strategy for battery remanufacturing and reuse that would meet future OEM requirements for warranty and aftermarket. The HSSMI battery cost estimation methodology supported Aspire Engineering in highlighting value recovery opportunities early in discussions with customers. With minimal data required to assess the value proposition for each customer, an understanding of which battery pack design elements promote an economically sustainable approach for repair, remanufacture, repurposing, or recycling can be achieved rapidly.
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