Worldwide, there are now tens of million electric vehicles, from those annoying little kickscooters parked on busy street corners to electric cars, even now electric planes and car ferries. That translates into billions of battery cells of various shapes, sizes and chemistries.
It therefore is a very legitimate question to ask what's going to become them. At some point they will degrade to a level where they will need to be replaced. Then what happens? Do they end up in toxic landfills or crushed into metallic pulp? Or, hopefully, they can find a "second life."
That's the goal of recycling entrepreneur Eric Lundgren [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Lundgren ] who a year ago set up BigBattery.com in Chatsworth, California. There he has a warehouse where his team is dedicated to finding that second life for $11 million dollars worth of used electric car batteries stacked floor to ceiling.
Eric gained more than his share of notoriety when his plans to recycle personal computers by copying the Microsoft operating system discs ran him afoul of the corporation who took him to court, earning him a 12-month jail sentence.
Now wiser, but no less passionate, Eric aims to make "hybrid" recycling, which he learned while living in Asia and Africa, a key component in America's efforts to reduce its electronic waste problem, not by shipping if offshore but by reutilizing and repurposing still serviceable components, which in the case of Big Battery is all those tens of millions of 18650 cylindrical lithium ion cells, channeling them after grading, into various sized energy storage devices from one that can power TVs in the West to rice cookers in the East.
In this two-part video interview, Eric demonstrates some of those devices in Part 1 and then takes us on a walking tour of the warehouse where he shows us the other uses to which he and his team are putting those batteries.
First Published: 2019-12-27
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