Here’s where the former Tesla CTO thinks battery recycling is headed

I think this whole new sustainable economy as we’re envisioning it, with everything electrified, simply can’t work unless you have a closed loop to raw materials. There are not enough new raw materials to continue building and disposing of them; it’s basically impossible.

Battery recycling is an intuitive solution to those two problems, but tell me more about the technical challenge of getting rid of it and how it works.

It’s more complicated than I thought many people appreciate. There’s a ton of chemistry, chemical engineering, and manufacturing engineering that must happen to create and refine all the components that go into a battery. It’s not just a matter of sorting or managing garbage.

There is a lot of room for innovation and these are not well optimized, or even implemented in some cases. So that’s really what’s exciting as an engineer, where you can invent and innovate things that haven’t been done two, three, four times.

But the one thing that isn’t intuitive is just the high reusability of the metals inside the battery. All the materials that we put into the battery and into the EV don’t go anywhere. They are all still there. They are not degraded, unharmed—99% of that metal, or perhaps more, can be reused over and over again. Literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of times.

I don’t believe we are properly absorbing how bad climate change will be.

JB Straubel

There won’t be many trams on the road in a long time. What do you think about navigating that and facing a shortage of used battery supplies?

I really see our position as a sustainable battery materials company. One of our main goals and objectives is to look at the long term and to ensure that we are architecting the most efficient systems in the long term, where recycled materials make up the majority of the time. supply.

But in the meantime, we’re taking a pragmatic view. We have to blend a certain amount of virgin materials—whatever we can get in the most eco-friendly way—to speed development while we need to transition away from fossil fuels. jelly.

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