Designing batteries for easier recycling could avert a looming e-waste crisis

What happens to millions of these? Kristoferb/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Zheng Chen, University of California San Diego and Darren H. S. Tan, University of California San Diego

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems.

These trends, coupled with a growing volume of battery-powered phones, watches, laptops, wearable devices and other consumer technologies, leave us wondering: What will happen to all these batteries once they wear out?

Despite overwhelming enthusiasm for cheaper, more powerful and energy-dense batteries, manufacturers have paid comparatively little attention to making these essential devices more sustainable. In the U.S. only about 5% of lithium-ion batteries – the technology of choice for electric vehicles and many high-tech products – are actually recycled. As sales of electric vehicles and tech gadgets continue to grow, it is unclear who should handle hazardous battery waste or how to do it.

As engineers who work on designing advanced materials, including batteries, we believe it is important to think about these issues now. Creating pathways for battery manufacturers to build sustainable production-to-recycling manufacturing processes that meet both consumer and environmental standards can reduce the likelihood of a battery waste crisis in the coming decade. Spent batteries from electric vehicles can still power devices like streetlights, but there is not currently any requirement to reuse them. Recycling them is expensive and technically complex.

Hazardous contents

Batteries pose more complex recycling and disposal challenges than metals, plastics and paper products because they contain many chemical components that are both toxic and difficult to separate.

Some types of widely used batteries – notably, lead-acid batteries in gasoline-powered cars – have relatively simple chemistries and designs that make them straightforward to recycle. The common nonrechargeable alkaline or water-based batteries that power devices like flashlights and smoke alarms can be disposed directly in landfills.

However, today’s lithium-ion batteries are highly sophisticated and not designed for recyclability. They contain hazardous chemicals, such as toxic lithium salts and transition metals, that can damage the environment and leach into water sources. Used lithium batteries also contain embedded electrochemical energy – a small amount of charge left over after they can no longer power devices – which can cause fires or explosions, or harm people that handle them.

Moreover, manufacturers have little economic incentive to modify existing protocols to incorporate recycling-friendly designs. Today it costs more to recycle a lithium-ion battery than the recoverable materials inside it are worth.

As a result, responsibility for handling battery waste frequently falls to third-party recyclers – companies that make money from collecting and processing recyclables. Often it is cheaper for them to store batteries than to treat and recycle them.

Recycling technologies that can break down batteries, such as pyrometallurgy, or burning, and hydrometallurgy, or acid leaching, are becoming more efficient and economical. But the lack of proper battery recycling infrastructure creates roadblocks along the entire supply chain.

For example, transporting used batteries over long distances to recycling centers would typically be done by truck. Lithium batteries must be packaged and shipped according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Class 9 hazardous material regulations. Using a model developed by Argonne National Laboratory, we estimate that this requirement increases transport costs to more than 50 times that of regular cargo.

Safer and simpler

While it will be challenging to bake recyclability into the existing manufacturing of conventional lithium-ion batteries, it is vital to develop sustainable practices for solid-state batteries, which are a next-generation technology expected to enter the market within this decade.

A solid-state battery replaces the flammable organic liquid electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries with a nonflammable inorganic solid electrolyte. This allows the battery to operate over a much wider temperature range and dramatically reduces the risk of fires or explosions. Our team of nanoengineers is working to incorporate ease of recyclability into next-generation solid-state battery development before these batteries enter the market.

Conceptually, recycling-friendly batteries must be safe to handle and transport, simple to dismantle, cost-effective to manufacture and minimally harmful to the environment. After analyzing the options, we’ve chosen a combination of specific chemistries in next-generation all-solid-state batteries that meets these requirements.

Our design strategy reduces the number of steps required to dismantle the battery, and avoids using combustion or harmful chemicals such as acids or toxic organic solvents. Instead, it employs only safe, low-cost materials such as alcohol and water-based recycling techniques. This approach is scalable and environmentally friendly. It dramatically simplifies conventional battery recycling processes and makes it safe to disassemble and handle the materials.

Diagram showing steps to recycle an all-solid-state battery.
A proposed procedure for recycling solid-state battery packs directly and harvesting their materials for reuse. Tan et al., 2020, CC BY

Compared to recycling lithium-ion batteries, recycling solid-state batteries is intrinsically safer since they’re made entirely of nonflammable components. Moreover, in our proposed design the entire battery can be recycled directly without separating it into individual components. This feature dramatically reduces the complexity and cost of recycling them.

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Our design is a proof-of-concept technology developed at the laboratory scale. It is ultimately up to private companies and public institutions, such as national laboratories or state-run waste facilities, to apply these recycling principles on an industrial scale.

Rules for battery recycling

Developing an easy-to-recycle battery is just one step. Many challenges associated with battery recycling stem from the complex logistics of handling them. Creating facilities, regulations and practices for collecting batteries is just as important as developing better recycling technologies. China, South Korea and the European Union are already developing battery recycling systems and mandates.

One useful step would be for governments to require that batteries carry universal tags, similar to the internationally recognized standard labels used for plastics and metals recycling. These could help to educate consumers and waste collectors about how to handle different types of used batteries.

Markings could take the form of an electronic tag printed on battery labels with embedded information, such as chemistry type, age and manufacturer. Making this data readily available would facilitate automated sorting of large volumes of batteries at waste facilities.

It is also vital to improve international enforcement of recycling policies. Most battery waste is not generated where the batteries were originally produced, which makes it hard to hold manufacturers responsible for handling it.

Such an undertaking would require manufacturers and regulatory agencies to work together on newer recycling-friendly designs and better collection infrastructure. By confronting these challenges now, we believe it is possible to avoid or reduce the harmful effects of battery waste in the future.

Zheng Chen, Assistant Professor of Engineering, University of California San Diego and Darren H. S. Tan, PhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering, University of California San Diego

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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October 25, 2020 2:23 pm

Batteries are one of my biggest annoyances. Storage batteries wear out and have to be replaced. It is very common that replacement batteries exceed the cost of the equipment. ie. I just bought a new cordless drill because that was cheaper than buying new batteries for the old one.

You can’t replace the batteries in cell phones any more. That shouldn’t even be legal.

I am all for making batteries easier to recycle, making generic batteries mandatory in consumer goods (thereby increasing competition), and mandating that consumer goods must have replaceable batteries.

I am so tired of getting ripped off on batteries. 🙁

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  commieBob
October 25, 2020 4:49 pm

Agreed, but phones these days are mostly waterproof, so letting the battery be changed is difficult. In any case, marketing tells customers to buy a new one every year.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 25, 2020 9:13 pm

The main reason for not being able to remove the battery is so that you cannot fully power off the device. What is the point of you having a personal surveillance tracking and bugging device in your pocket if you can just turn it off. It defeats the purpose.

Reply to  commieBob
October 25, 2020 5:24 pm

If I had my way I would have a law that requires any device with a battery must provide instructions on how the user can change the battery and the device cannot reject the battery as long as meets the requirements. (Apple iPhones code the battery to the device; changing the battery, even with an equal iPhone battery, triggers a message on the device. Not cool.) No more non-removable batteries. You can still make waterproof devices with replaceable batteries.

Oh, and I would require any device that can play music to have an industry standard headphone jack. This way we can break free of the inferior and high-profit wireless headphones.

Reply to  Wade
October 25, 2020 6:47 pm

Hi Wade,

add to that the power supplies, surely to god, there could be a universal power supply. how much would that save?

Reply to  commieBob
October 25, 2020 6:58 pm

Apple has gone to batteries that aren’t user replaceable. My laptop battery was replaced for free because they recalled it as they sometimes self ignited. My iPhone 7 battery was losing capacity though I could still get through the day with half the charge left. That was replaced while I waited for under $50. Considering what I paid for the phone new and the fact it still serves my needs, I consider that fair.
Yes, I would like batteries that last much longer and they are working on the problem but it isn’t here yet.
You could go to nickel Iron batteries which have a lifetime of over 30 years however the power density is low and it takes twice as much power to charge them as they produce. The are best used for stationary applications where the limitations aren’t as much of a problem. Lithium is the best they can do for the moment but somehow it feels like the toxic chemistry of NiCad that they have done their best to get rid of.

Reply to  Dena
October 26, 2020 9:32 am

Much of the fire hazard could be eliminated by changing the chemistry. We only use LiFEPo batteries in boats because they are non hazardous to the extent they don’t self ignite even if shorted or shot by bullets. You can walk away from a burning car or maybe hour House it ignited but the boat on fire will kill you. I might have a Tesla Power Wall aboard except for the fire hazard.

Also never discussed is the carbon footprint of mining, refining, transport or the power needed to recharge these things. Recharging primarily by fossil fuel power plants. How much energy does it take to transport, gather, recycle these things?

Ian Random
Reply to  commieBob
October 27, 2020 2:18 am

You can buy knock-off batteries on Amazon. There are also companies that will replace the battery internals and keep the shell.

5% recycled
95% exploded for youtube videos.

Flight Level
October 25, 2020 2:28 pm

In comparison I have been told that fuel tanks are either plastic or metal lightweight containers and never heard of related recycling issues.

Joseph Zorzin
October 25, 2020 2:30 pm

Are the current crop of batteries for cars fire hazards? I have a camera that uses LIPO batteries and I discovered they are a fire hazard so I store them in LIPO safe bags.

I wouldn’t mind having an electric car- not to save the climate, but I now have an electric chainsaw and an electric lawn mower. Nice products. But unfortunately, I can’t afford an electric car.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
October 25, 2020 4:20 pm

One of the advantages of using small metal cans for lithium cells used in hand tools and EVs like Teslas is the risk of spontaneous failure of the battery is lower.

LIPO cells are often just plastic bags so internal faults can lead to fires. Just throwing a LIPO battery in water can result in fire.

I have had a lead/acid battery catch on fire – the result of a near dead short in a car when the positive lead abraded and made contact with the body of the car. The red hot lead melted the battery plastic and it ignited. It could have been nasty but I saw smoke coming from the engine bay and pushed the car out of the garage and opened the hood. The fire was self-extinguished as it burnt the plastic down to the level of the electrolyte.

Point is; batteries store energy and the sudden release of that energy results in very high power density that can cause nasty things. There has been a lot development over the last century to make gasoline fuel tanks safer. That learning is just starting with battery EVs.

I have seen the end of an aluminium bridge vaporise when accidentally shorting a large format lithium cell. They have very high power density compared with a lead/acid battery so release energy fast. Lead/acid batteries have an electrode polarising effect that limits sustained power output after an initial burst; the reason why you give a starter battery a minute or so to recover on subsequent start attempts.

Some the metal can cells have their own protection circuits built into the end caps, The circuit can be easily destroyed if connectors are welded or soldered to the terminal.

All the scooter batteries that use multiples of metal cans have internal cell monitoring and protection to limit fault conditions. You see designations like 13S6P; meaning 13 series and 6 parallel for a nominal 48V battery. The cans are commonly 18650, meaning 18mm diameter and 65mm long, typically holding 2Ah-3Ah. Another common size is 21700, which are typically around 3Ah -5Ah. I have some 26650 cells that store up to 6Ah.

Tesla were making 21700 cans rated at about 5Ah. Their latest design has gone up to 4680; meaning 46mm diameter and 80mm long; estimated at 25Ah. It could be getting to the limit of the metal can containment.

Optimising the can technology is certainly bringing the cost of battery storage down. In places like South Australia that are trying to get high penetration of grid scale weather-dependent generation, thereby forcing grid power prices through the roof, it is already economic to switch to solar/battery rather than paying for grid power.

It is not sensible to connect intermittent power to the grid. But places that are trying that have not thought through the fundamentals. Particularly in places like Australia where solar is a ubiquitous energy source of high quality that anyone can extract and store for their own use. The most economic source of electricity in some Australian locations is already solar plus battery; not cheap though but the lowest cost because the grid power has become very expensive. I expect California is approaching the same dilemma.

Peter Fraser
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
October 25, 2020 4:22 pm

A year or two ago a Tesla electric car was involved in an accident on a German autobahn. The vehicle caught fire and was left for hours to burn itself out as there was no safe way to extinguish the fire.

Reply to  Peter Fraser
October 26, 2020 12:32 pm

Lith-X can douse lithium based fires. I don’t know how often a fire department will have an engine carrying Lith-X extinguishers, the only means of extinguishing lithium-fueled fires. I expect this will become more common as more EVs hit the road.

Allen Stoner
October 25, 2020 2:33 pm

From 0 to the end of the cord in 1.2 seconds.

October 25, 2020 2:41 pm

All of these batteries should have a deposit on them that is sufficient that people WANT to return them for the cash, not to get them out of the garage/tiny bit of cash as present car batteries do. Rechargeable tool batteries come to mind. Then, if need be, bury them all in a dedicated part of the landfill where they can be considered a resource for some future recovery technology, as has happened with the tailings piles of gold mines.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 25, 2020 4:11 pm

When my hybrid battery needed to be replaced, I think it was $500 to allow them to keep the old battery that had at least one bad cell. Is that enough of a “deposit?”

October 25, 2020 2:43 pm

Don’t waste lithium….some lithium is needed for some MSRs using thorium. The MSRs will replace coal plants like diesel-electric locomotives replaced coal-steam locomotives and jet engines replaced piston-prop engines.

Reply to  T. C. Clark
October 25, 2020 4:12 pm

Tell us when they actually have a commercial one built that is actually providing electricity.

Reply to  fred250
October 25, 2020 5:40 pm

Write your Congress person. China will probably have a test MSR before the end of 2021. The main reason we don’t have an MSR today is because they cut the funding for the one at Oak Ridge 50 years ago and all money for reactors went in the wrong direction. It takes government money because the nuclear material is under government control and the electricity rates are under government control. Investors do not like having to put up large amounts of money that may or may not pay off years later. Once an MSR has been demonstrated, like the one for instance being developed by Copenhagen Atomics, which is a heat producing machine the size of a shipping container….use the heat for producing electricity and stack the units if one is not enough…safety allows installation nearer users …small towns and cities can produce their own power….a steel plant can produce its own electricity…a city near the coast can desalinate seawater.

Reply to  T. C. Clark
October 25, 2020 7:16 pm


Tell us when they actually have a commercial one built that is actually providing electricity.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  fred250
October 26, 2020 4:52 am

Thanks. The next higher tech vaporware.

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Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  T. C. Clark
October 25, 2020 4:24 pm

T.C posted: “The MSRs will replace coal plants like . . .”

Ummm . . . would that be in the next five years, the next 50 years, or the next 500 years? MSRs are always promised to be “right around the corner”.

Lots of smoke, but no fire . . . MSRs kinda remind me of the brouhaha over “cold fusion” using platinum-group metals that started some 30 years ago.

Loren C Wilson
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
October 25, 2020 5:18 pm

If the regulatory atmosphere were better, five years is feasible. However, the current design was done in the late 1950s-early 1960s. Several better designs have been proposed but will take about ten years to properly test before going live. At least this is proven technology whereas cold fusion was simply not doing a proper energy balance.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
October 26, 2020 12:38 pm

MSRs were running at ORNL back in the late 50’s and through the 60’s, so it isn’t like it’s never been done before.

The biggest issue has been making sure the materials used in an MSR have chemical compatibility, meaning the one material or combinations of materials will not cause undue corrosion in another material used in the reactor and supporting equipment.

If my understanding is correct, that problem has already been addressed.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  DCE
October 26, 2020 1:18 pm

Wikipedia ( ) CURRENTLY lists 10 disadvantages of MSRs, one of which is corrosion.

Above and beyond chemical compatibility, those metals that appear to be corrosion-resistant to the basic molten salt chemical mix, mainly nickel-based alloys, are prone to embrittlement under high neutron flux.

Also there is this stated complication: the chemical composition of the working salt (and its resulting impact on chemical compatibility of selected plumbing/containment metals) is transmuted over time by reactor radiation.

It is actually like it’s never been done before under REALISTIC operating conditions over years of accumulated power production time.

October 25, 2020 2:45 pm

No wonder the EV industry tries to talk about re-purposing EV batteries into grid uses. They don’t want the conversation to turn to the real issues of them.

This too will one day end up in the column with taxpayers footing the bill.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
October 26, 2020 12:22 am

“No wonder the EV industry tries to talk about re-purposing EV batteries into grid uses.”

As if that’s not bad enough try convincing the numpties V2G isn’t going to save their unreliables daydream. Well not unless the brains trust faced with inevitable blackouts decide lots of long range EV owners don’t need all that range sitting in their driveway they won’t. Fallacy of composition doesn’t exist for these people and it will all run on e-motion.

October 25, 2020 2:53 pm

Hah, most recycled waste is either burnt for power generation or buried in a landfill.
Mainly because there is no market for it.
Guess we need another subsidy from the taxpayer to pay for the “recycle of green”.
Getting a bit tiring, eh?

October 25, 2020 3:34 pm

Battery waste in the 21st century will be mote significant than nuclear waste in the last century.

October 25, 2020 3:50 pm

So this is what Yucca Mountain will be used by Dems….for a fee.

Geoff Sherrington
October 25, 2020 4:03 pm

Reflect, for a while, on how we have become slaves to control by regulators.
I remember golden times when, faced with a new idea or invention, we went ahead and made it. Common sense and experience were the regulators.
These days, we increasingly see inventors and innovators writing that they are relectant to advance because the regulators might not permit, or the regulatory process is too expensive and complicated.
We badly need to study benefit:cost ratios of the regulatory process in all major industries. This issue is just so important for matters like the battery industry.
Progress should be governed by the excellence of the product, not by any opinion of bureacratic regulators, even if they are the best that money can buy.
Geoff S

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
October 26, 2020 3:39 am

Geoff, those are words of wisdom. As a former federal regulator, I agree with you more than words can express.

michael hart
October 25, 2020 4:12 pm

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels.

No, concern isn’t mounting over the impacts of climate change. There is only the continuous waterfall of synthetic concern by science grifters, media shills, politicians, and ill-informed enviro-tards.

And to assert that electricity and fossil fuels are some how fungibly interchangeable betrays a complete lack of understanding of the basics of the topic. What an f-ing moron. I stopped reading at that point.

Reply to  michael hart
October 25, 2020 5:24 pm

Synthetic concern or not, there are a lot of people dependent on keeping this money spinner alive.

Ten seconds of logical thought casts out the idea of the “greenhouse effect”. If such a process existed then all the water on earth would boil off. The fact is it cannot because once it gets to a water column of 38mm it sets up a self sustaining cycle of high level, highly reflective cloud that is known as monsoon in the tropics and generates cyclones at higher latitudes.

The sea surface cannot get above 32C because monsoon produce clouds that reflect up to 80% of the incoming insolation.

The only sea surface warmer than 32C is the Persian Gulf because high level moist air gets blown south so it cannot form monsoon or cyclone.

Tropical moored buoys confirm the ocean surface has not warmed in the last 40 years:

Gordon A. Dressler
October 25, 2020 4:16 pm

Ooops . . . there goes the “green” part of any GND plan to replace fossil fueled-power plants and transportation vehicles with “renewables” that employ batteries for output level-loading and long term electrical energy storage.

Sic transit gloria.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
October 25, 2020 4:54 pm

Gloria gets travel sick?

R Taylor
October 25, 2020 4:16 pm

In response to the fake climate crisis we now have the fake lithium crisis. Fair dinkum because the main beneficiaries are likely to remain Australian miners.

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 25, 2020 4:17 pm

Just like you have windup radios for the African marked, the next generation mobile phones will be windup phones.

The Swish are good at making automatic windup wristwatches and if that is too expensive, there is always the standard windup watch.

Electric vehicles should only be used where needed. For example inside airports and railways stations. These could use AGM batteries, which I suppose are easier to recycle.

Wind and solar is not dispatchable and should be outlawed. This will eliminate the need for batteries, lower electricity prices and save the environment.

Batteries for large scale UPS in cell phone and computer systems should be Ni-Fe (Edison) batteries with automated hydration. This was already the norm for the old telephone exchanges.


See how easy it is to reduce battery issue. – This is only half way sarcastic. What I say here is that maybe we should just hold our horses a bit and not change what actually working. Because generally Green is not green.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 25, 2020 5:04 pm

I see a rush into a technology that is not ready and likely never ready, and soon superseded by something better.
My example is those god awful vacuum fluorescent bulbs, remember that?
Jurisdictions passing regulations to force their use and poof, LEDs blew them out of the water.
Wind, solar and batteries will be the same, crap technology

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 25, 2020 6:07 pm

“The Swish are good at making automatic windup wristwatches and if that is too expensive, there is always the standard windup watch.”

I’m having trouble finding Swisherland on my globe.

Eamon Butler
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 26, 2020 4:55 am

Brilliant! Why has no one thought of it before? Wind up radios, wind up phones, wind up watches… what we need are wind up cars. 😉
I’m only winding you up.

Michael Jankowski
October 25, 2020 4:17 pm

“…In the U.S. only about 5% of lithium-ion batteries – the technology of choice for electric vehicles and many high-tech products – are actually recycled…”

This site from around the same time says lithium-ion batteries have a 50% recycle rate and that these folks have it at 80% for car batteries.,materials%20in%20lithium%2Dion%20batteries.

Same source says the oft-used 5% is an oft-repeated garbage stat.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
October 26, 2020 3:34 am

“This site from around the same time says lithium-ion batteries have a 50% recycle rate and that these folks have it at 80% for car batteries.”

No you read it wrong when it actually reports-

“A new solution by Nordic clean energy company Fortum makes over 80% of electric vehicle (EV) batteries recyclable, returning scarce metals back into circulation and resolving the sustainability gap by reducing the need to mine cobalt, nickel and other scarce materials. The current recycling rate for lithium-ion batteries is approximately 50%.”

In other words their new technology they’re pilot testing has the potential to allow 80% of current lithium batteries to be recycled compared to current tech that only permits 50% of them. But as they point out-
“There are very few working, economically viable technologies for recycling the majority of materials in lithium-ion batteries. We saw a challenge that was not yet solved and developed a scalable recycling solution for all industries using batteries,”

Hence why we get only 5% lithium battery recycling right here and now and it remains to be seen whether the new kid on the block can up that rate economically to make a difference and get anywhere near actual lead acid battery recycling percentages. Lots of things are technically possible but are they anywhere near economically viable? Like towing icebergs to grow orchids in Death Valley or replacing fossil fuels for energy with solar panels and windmills.

October 25, 2020 5:09 pm

My guess is that these “recyclable” batteries are going to wind up being larger, heavier and more costly.

October 25, 2020 5:25 pm

battery recycling claims are probably based on some non-verified models

Robert of Texas
October 25, 2020 5:38 pm

Anything that is widely used should be designed as best as possible for recycling, repurposingor disposal – it shouldn’t even be legal to sell products where these issues have not been addressed. Tires for example can be made into new products by shredding them. Lead-Acid batteries are widely recycled.

But what about an alkaline AA battery? How many of us just throw them away because there is no good way to recycle them. If a store sells it, they should be forced to take in the old ones for recycling. Same for oil, antifreeze, etc. Many places that sell these materials will not touch the recycling of them.

Smart phones – OMG – how many bazillion of these are getting thrown away? I think I have 3 or 4 in a drawer that go back to around the year 2002 or so.

Laws need to be put into place that are in front of electric car sales – address the issues BEFORE they become disasters. Electric cars need to be taxed the same way a gasoline car is taxed for road maintenance. In the case of a gas powered car, it’s in the form of gasoline taxes. In the case of electric cars it is going to have to be some kind of yearly mileage tax. All their lithium batteries, electronics, motors need to have recycling plans in place.

Same thing for wind turbines – is ANYONE thinking about all those blades and towers needing to be replaced?

How about solar farms – toxic glass anyone?

Reply to  Robert of Texas
October 25, 2020 9:25 pm

How about solar farms – toxic glass anyone?

Whatever elements are used, are you seriously suggesting the doping levels of the order of 1 in 10^8 make glass “toxic”?

Do you know what they do with nuclear waste to stabilise it ? One technique is vitrification. Work out what that means.

If you want to criticise a technology, at least learn enough about it to make a coherent point. The pollution of used solar panels does not come from very stable and incredibly pure silicon crystals they contain.

John Pickens
Reply to  Greg
October 25, 2020 11:47 pm

Last time I looked, copper and silver were on the RCRA list of priority pollutants.
Please subtract the energy cost of safely removing these metals from disposed silicon PV panels to the net efficiency calculations for their use.

Why are we doing this non-renewable “renewables” thing again?

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Robert of Texas
October 26, 2020 4:54 am

All French shops have recycling points for dry cells, that includes small village shops. Supermarkets also recycling for light bulbs including LED and CFC, small appliances and also printer cartridges. Larger white goods and electronics are taken to the local recycling/rubbish tip. I’m not sure if this is EU wide or just France. I find it very useful as it’s quite surprising how many dry cells and button cells, printer cartridges, light bulbs and the like you can get through in the course of a year.

October 25, 2020 6:09 pm

“many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels.”

What kind of expert contends that electricity doesn’t come from fossil fuels? …and batteries, and wind turbines, and PV cells, and paper, and metals, and chemicals, and concrete…

Peta of Newark
October 26, 2020 2:11 am

You’ll all be heartbroken I’m sure BUT, nobody at the BBC is reading here.

Or even the Grauniad obviously also.
Maybe they are, there *is* a thing called “Lying By Omission” and we all know what Einstein said about those:
“People careless with the truth of small matters are not to be trusted with anything bigger”

So, as of 56 minutes ago at 09:09 GMT, the Beeb put up *this* story.

Michael S. Kelly
October 26, 2020 3:43 am

Following the links, I see that we will have at least 2,500 MW battery capacity installed by 2023. So our usage of 1 TW will only require 400 times that much capacity! We’re this close (I’m holding my thumb and forefinger just a micron apart)!

October 26, 2020 4:22 am

This is the monumental recyclability mountain to be conquered with large lithium cell battery packs that must be tightly secured in order to bounce them safely all over the countryside in EVs-

Reply to  observa
October 26, 2020 1:01 pm

LOL, On of the MANY green jobs in dementia Joe’s future. !

Doug Huffman
October 26, 2020 4:49 am

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October 26, 2020 5:58 am

many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels.
Then the experts are idiots. Electricity is not a source of energy. Ir is similar to a pipeline. It is a method to transport energy. Fossil fuel on the orher hand is a source of energy.

Reply to  ferdberple
October 26, 2020 12:46 pm

NYC via Local Law 97 (LL97) is pushing electrification to reduce “carbon footprint” while shutting down nuclear power and having no clear idea as to how much the grid capacity would have to be increased. Reading LL97 I am convinced the people who wrote it are convinced that the entire city, with batteries, could be run on solar and wind.

D Cage
October 26, 2020 11:21 am

Forget recycling, it may be just my Toyota but my hybrid now goes only around a third of the distance on battery it did at the start of the pandemic. It still looks nearly full at the start but give it two miles and it is nearly flat and the engine starts to recharge it. I am using it more now but there is zero improvement and I am wondering if there is permanent damage from this rare use pattern.

Reply to  D Cage
October 26, 2020 11:48 pm

You didn’t see fit to use a maintenance charger then?
Not to worry the alternative universe is going to run on them 24/7.

Ben Vorlich
October 28, 2020 4:18 am

I was reading this morning that BMW is recalling Hybrid vehicles because of battery issues. Wasn’t clear exactly what these issues are

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
October 28, 2020 10:49 am

One issue may be improperly finished welds providing sharp penetrators when the internals expand and swell due to heating during use charging or discharging. The builders and their manufaturer clients have become fairly closed-mouth on the issue.

I am very pleased with my diesel powered BMW SAV.

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