JERA and Sumitomo Chemical Start a Demonstration Project to Develop a Low Environmental Impact Recycling Process for Electric Vehicle Lithium-ion Batteries2022/04/19
JERA Co., Inc. (“JERA”) and Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. (“Sumitomo Chemical”) have received notice that their grant application, under the Green Innovation Fund program of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), to conduct a project to develop a process for recycling lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (the “Project”), has been accepted.
With the number of electric vehicles expected to increase as part of realizing carbon neutrality, there is a need in Japan—a country with few natural resources—to separate and collect the rare metals contained in used batteries for reuse as battery materials, and to do so in a way that is efficient and has a low environmental impact.
The current roasting method, however, because it not only emits CO2 but also oxidizes and degrades the materials, makes it difficult to efficiently collect rare metals.
The Project aims to solve these challenges by developing a low environmental impact process for recycling lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. The term of the Project is 9 years from FY 2022 to FY 2030.
In the Project, JERA, in cooperation with Waseda University, Kumamoto University, and others, will develop and demonstrate a non-roasting method for separating and collecting battery materials by utilizing its patent-pending high voltage pulse technology. Sumitomo Chemical, in cooperation with Kyoto University, will develop and demonstrate a direct recycling technology that recycles, without returning them to metal, the cathode materials JERA has separated and collected. Sumitomo Chemical also plans to develop an upcycling technology that raises the cathode materials’ performance to at least the same level as before recycling.
Through these initiatives, the two companies aim both to efficiently collect and reuse cathode materials and other battery materials without oxidization or degradation and to reduce CO2 emissions and costs.
Under its “JERA Zero CO2 Emissions 2050” objective, JERA has been working to reduce CO2 emissions from its domestic and overseas businesses to zero by 2050. JERA will actively work to realize a decarbonized closed-loop society by developing technologies like an energy storage system that reuses electric vehicle batteries and by developing services that contribute to optimal energy use.
Sumitomo Chemical has identified “contribution to area of the environment” as one of its material management issues, and in December 2021 formulated a grand design to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Leveraging the technological capabilities and expertise it has accumulated over many years as a diversified chemical company, Sumitomo Chemical will accelerate its efforts to resolve major social issues such as greenhouse gas emissions reduction.