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Old 12-06-2010, 11:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
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What about the creation and mining involved in making the batteries? I've heard that is a harsh process using loads of petrol.
Lead acid batteries tend be recycled in to new lead acid batteries with very little waste, close to 99% of an old lead acid battery is turned in to a new lead acid battery, so its just re-refining.
Lithium batteries tend to have the highest environmental impact from the copper and aluminum that goes in to them, the aluminum is so thin that you loose most of it when you recycle them (aluminum foil has little to no scrap value as it turns to oxide when you melt it) but you get almost all of the copper back, if I remember correctly it was around 70% of the metal going in to a lithium battery is gotten back, I don't remember how much lithium is returned, I think it was 30-40%, but there wasn't much lithium to start with and like I said, the other metals have the larger environmental impact, at least this is according to the presentation on manufacturing and recycling of lithium batteries, this is all from memory so please check my information before writing your paper.

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Old 12-07-2010, 12:50 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
[T]he aluminum is so thin that you loose most of it when you recycle them (aluminum foil has little to no scrap value as it turns to oxide when you melt it) but you get almost all of the copper back
I'm sure more food-caked aluminum foil goes into landfills than will ever be lost to lithium batteries. :-)
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Old 12-07-2010, 01:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Here's a link to an outfit that makes half of the worlds batteries. And recycles most of the products:

Johnson Controls Inc. | Battery Recycling
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:15 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Deka also has a recycling partnership for lead acid batteries in Pennsylvania.
Trojan work with someone in Georgia to recycle their lead acid batteries.
So I'm not sure why Jonson Controls sends theres to Mexico.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:51 AM   #15 (permalink)
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What about the creation and mining involved in making the batteries? I've heard that is a harsh process using loads of petrol.
What about the mining & manufacturing of everything else that goes into the car? Compare making a battery to the complexity of e.g. mining iron ore, smelting it, converting it to steel, casting & boring engine blocks, making bearings, valves, piston rings...
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:41 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Very good point. It'd be interesting to see a direct comparison in the entire construction process.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
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From what I remember, the battery adds about 2% on to the over all environmental impact of a vehicle.
Copper is pretty harsh stuff to mine, but we use hundreds of pounds of copper wire in our house and that is just a fraction of what is used world wide.

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