How are EV batteries dismantled safely here?
Before an EV battery can be recycled, it first has to be removed and dismantled. This is done by trained operators who leave nothing to chance. Geert Allard, Operational Manager at Sortbat (Bebat subsidiary) tells us more about this painstaking specialist’s task.
EV batteries have to be expertly dismantled by trained operators using appropriate tools, wearing protective gloves and following general safety guidelines. Allard: ‘Our employees are skilled in both mechanical and electrical engineering. After completing a specific course at an authorised training centre, they continue their training here, on the job.’
Take an EV battery from a passenger car, for instance. It is a long way from a small common-or-garden battery. Geert Allard: ‘No two batteries that come into Bebat are alike. The position in the vehicle varies, too. But these days, the battery is often in the floor of the vehicle and is the size of a wooden pallet. These batteries are usually screwed on underneath the car in a sturdy casing: a protective metal case that prevents water, dust or soil getting into the battery.’
Risk factors and how to avoid them
EV batteries have to be dismantled carefully. There are a number of risk factors to take into account:
- Gassing (some gases are toxic)
- Instability (extinguishing is sometimes complicated due to the risk of reignition)
- Short circuit
Sometimes specific guidelines from the customer or the brand have to be taken into account, too. Dismantling is always customised work for Bebat. Each job is different, and what the customer wants is decisive.
‘‘Dismantling is always customised work for Bebat. Each job is different, and what the customer wants is decisive
Opening the casing
The protective case around the battery is unscrewed and adhesive and silicones are removed. There are often also electrical components and cables for liquid coolants (cooling) or air (ventilation) that have to be taken away.
These are taken before and during the dismantling process. The modules/cells are gradually removed from the battery pack in order to reduce the voltage for safe processing. Ultimately, all the cells are removed.
Besides the voltage, the temperature is also measured by means of a heat scan. If this rises above the ambient temperature, it is an indication that something is amiss. Cells that show no deviation from the ambient temperature can be safely stored.
Once the battery has been dismantled, the battery cells are packed up again and - if necessary - stored in a specially secured area that is constantly monitored, among other things. From there they are taken to a recognised recycling company.