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ABRI November News

Keeping you up-to-date on battery news in Australia and around the world.

November news contents

  1. B-cycle – keeping up to date with key milestones as Australia’s battery stewardship scheme prepares for launch in 2022
  2. Western Australia’s battery industry moving into manufacturing
  3. PV Magazine Webinar – Fireproofing: ensuring large-scale and distributed battery performance and safety
  4. Lessons learnt from Victoria’s ‘big battery fire’
  5. Reducing the cost of lithium battery recycling by separating the valuable materials that make up the cathode
  6. Become an ABRI member

Please get in touch with ABRI if you have global best practice examples of regulatory and/or policy initiatives to support sustainable and safe lithium ion and mixed battery recycling and reuse (secretariat@batteryrecycling.org.au). ABRI’s focus is on collection, storage and transport of these batteries.

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1. B-CYCLE - KEEPING UP TO DATE WITH KEY MILESTONES AS AUSTRALIA'S BATTERY STEWARDSHIP SCHEME PREPARES FOR LAUNCH IN 2022

The Battery Stewardship Council is busy preparing for the launch of the B-cycle battery stewardship scheme in 2022. This is Australia’s battery recycling scheme approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. To keep up to date with scheme developments, follow the Battery Stewardship Council LinkedIn page or find out more at the B-Cycle website.

In partnership with BSC, ABRI is hosting fortnightly consultation sessions for ABRI members to answer questions about B-cycle operations and assist those members participting in the scheme.

For parties interested in joining the Scheme as a drop-off point, collector, sorter or recycler please contact B-cycle for further information.

B-cycle has recently released a Button Battery Safety Strategy which sets out a three point strategic action plan to:

  1. Enhance awareness about button battery safety risks.
  2. Change behaviour by providing the community with tools and actions that can be taken to address safety risks
  3. Develop storage and container protocols to support safe collection and delivery of button batteries for recycling.
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2. WESTERN AUSTRALIA'S BATTERY INDUSTRY MOVING INTO MANUFACTURING

The Western Australian (WA) Government’s Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia has invested $900,000 in the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC) Cathode Precursor Production pilot plant project led by Curtin University. Commissioning of the plant is expected to begin in early 2022, followed by an 18-month trial.

The pilot aims to demonstrate Australia’s capability to produce cost-effective, high-quality nickel, cobalt and manganese for producing precursor cathode active materials (PCAM) – a form of advanced chemical manufacturing and is a key material used in lithium-ion batteries to power electric vehicles.

This builds on the WA’s battery minerals processing capabilities and construction underway on lithium hydroxide plants. As part of the WA COVID Recovery Plan, the WA Government has committed $13.2 million to facilitate global investment in precursor cathode manufacturing in Western Australia. This supports their Future Battery Industry Strategy which commits to growing WA into a leading exporter of future battery minerals, materials, technologies and expertise.

The next article provides a link to a presentation by the WA Energy Minister on the role of batteries in the state.

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3. PV MAGAZINE WEBINAR - FIREPROOFING: ENSURING LARGE-SCALE AND DISTRIBUTED BATTERY PERFORMANCE AND SAFETY

PV Magazine in partnership with All-Energy Australia hosted a forum on the rapidly growing Australian battery energy storage market. The forum focused on the following questions:

  • What is the outlook for battery energy storage systems in Australia?
  • How can battery safety and durability be assured?
  • And how can risks be mitigated both technically and legally? 

Insights from the forum are available at the link below.

Of particular interest to the battery recycling industry are presentations by:

  • WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston discussing the role for batteries in Western Australia.
  • Paul Christensen from Newcastle University in the UK providing a rundown on thermal runaway.
  • Two panels convened to discuss the performance and safety of battery energy storage systems, in both components of the electricity grid – large systems supplying the transmission network and small systems supplying the distribution network.
  • BMS Brokers’ Richard Nunny and Ariel Re’s Jan Napiorkowski provided both a local and international perspective as to how the future of BESS can be insured.
  • Deakin University’s Cristina Pozo-Gonzalo rounded out the event with the ‘Three Re’s’ of battery energy storage systems – Redesign, Repurpose and Recycle.
PV MAGAZINE EVENT PAGE
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4. LESSONS LEARNT FROM VICTORIA'S 'BIG BATTERY FIRE'

Energy Safe Victoria has released its Statement of Findings into the cause, contributory factors and lessons learned from Victoria’s ‘big battery fire’ in July 2021.

Energy Safe Victoria reports the following actions have been put in place to prevent a recurrence of this incident:

  • Each Megapack cooling system is to be fully functionally and pressure tested when installed on site and before it is put into service.
  • Each Megapack cooling system in its entirety is to be physically inspected for leaks after it has been functionally and pressure tested on site.
  • The SCADA system has been modified such that it now ‘maps’ in one hour and this is to be verified before power flow is enabled to ensure real-time data is available to operators.
  • A new ‘battery module isolation loss’ alarm has been added to the firmware. This modification also automatically removes the battery module from service until the alarm is investigated.
  • Changes have been made to the procedure for the usage of the key lock for Megapacks during commissioning and operation to ensure the telemetry system is operational.
  • The high voltage controller (HVC) that operates the pyrotechnic fuse remains in service when the key lock is isolated.

Designers are also working to ensure that Megapacks are engineered to fully mitigate the risk of fire propagation from one unit to another under Victorian climatic conditions, with proposed mitigation procedures to be rolled out to applicable Megapacks globally.

 

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5. REDUCING THE COST OF LITHIUM BATTERY RECYCLING BY SEPARATING THE VALUABLE MATERIALS THAT MAKE UP THE CATHODE

Researchers at Michigan Technological University (MTU), part of the US Department of Energy’s (DoE) ReCell team, have developed a process for separating the materials that make up the cathode, a battery’s positively charged electrode. Scientists at the Materials Engineering Research Facility, a part of DoE’s Argonne Laboratory, are now working to scale up the technology to support large scale recycling of electric vehicles.

ReCell reports that the technique is based on one used by the mining industry to separate and purify ores. It uses froth flotation to separate materials in a flotation tank based on whether they repel water and float, or absorb water and sink. Generally, cathode materials sink, which makes them difficult to separate from each other. What the researchers found was that separation can be achieved by making one of the cathode materials, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC111), float via the introduction of a chemical that makes the target material repel water.

Once the cathode materials were separated, the researchers determined that the process had a negligible impact on the electrochemical performance of the materials and also resulted in high purity levels (95 percent or above).

The ReCell Center is a collaboration of industry, academia and national laboratories working  to advance recycling technologies along the entire battery life-cycle for current and future battery chemistries. The Center aims to grow a sustainable advanced battery recycling industry by developing economic and environmentally sound recycling process that can be adopted by industry for lithium-ion and future battery chemistries.

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6. BECOME AN ABRI MEMBER - THE BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP

Workshops – Presentations and policy discussions from leading industry players and research institutions

Policy and advocacy – working with governments on a national waste tracking system

News – member bulletins on key regulatory and other events, general bulletins on industry news

Collaboration with Australian Battery Industry Association on industry issues e.g. lithium ion battery safety

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT US!
CLICK HERE TO JOIN
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