Violent disassembly, shoddy … Recycling of used lithium batteries to be standardized

  Violent disassembly is prone to fire and explosion, improper crushing causes environmental pollution, and used lithium batteries are sold again with inferior quality … … In recent years, with the rising price of metal raw materials such as lithium, the recycling industry of waste lithium batteries has become a "hot" track. However, some unqualified manufacturers recycle and disassemble old batteries without authorization and make rough processing for profit, which causes great security risks and needs urgent attention.

  There are many chaos in the recycling of waste lithium batteries.

  "A large number of lithium batteries are recycled, and all kinds of lithium batteries are also sold. Welcome to consult." Open social media, search for "lithium battery recycling", ranging from mobile phone lithium batteries to new energy vehicle battery packs. The reporter randomly chatted with a "lithium battery recycling Lao Zhou", and the other party was very enthusiastic, saying that as long as there is a lithium battery, he can contact him at any time to recycle it.

  In the past two years, due to the high prices of metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, used lithium batteries have become "fragrant", and a large amount of capital has poured into the recycling industry of used lithium batteries. Because waste lithium batteries are not hazardous waste, the threshold for recycling is low, which gives birth to a large number of "middlemen". Waste lithium batteries are scattered in the hands of battery manufacturers, vehicle manufacturers, third-party recycling companies, waste battery traders, dismantling and crushing plants and other main bodies.

  "At present, the recycling channels of lithium batteries are chaotic, and it is difficult to trace the waste lithium batteries, which brings great obstacles to the comprehensive utilization of waste lithium batteries." Liao Longjiang, chairman of quannan county Ruilong Technology Co., Ltd. said.

  The reporter’s investigation found that in addition to "buying and selling", there are many small factories with incomplete qualifications engaged in the recycling and rough processing of used lithium batteries. These small factories are usually hidden and have great environmental protection and safety risks.

  "Dismantling and crushing is not very technical. I have seen the workers in those small factories, using hammers and scissors to simply and rudely disassemble the battery pack, and then throw the materials into the pulverizer. The disposal plant can always smell an unpleasant smell. " A person in charge of a company engaged in lithium battery recycling said.

  The regulatory authorities have also noticed such illegal "small factories". In January last year, law enforcement officers of Tangxia Branch of Dongguan Ecological Environment Bureau of Guangdong Province found that an unlicensed small workshop illegally processed waste lithium batteries, and the factory area was filled with the smell of chemical solvents, and a large number of flammable materials such as paper, rubber and plastic fragments were piled up near the lithium battery soaking area, which had great security risks. After investigation, the factory building failed to pass the environmental protection examination and approval and independent acceptance, and did not apply for pollution discharge permit or discharge registration of fixed pollution sources.

  Others take risks and repackage the used lithium batteries for secondary sales. "At present, the industry standard of echelon utilization is not perfect, which leads to the formal enterprises’ fear of echelon utilization, so ‘ Retired ’ Lithium batteries will be used by profit-seeking people. " Meng Dejiang, general manager of Jiangxi Guihang New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. said, "Electric bicycles often catch fire, and some of these incidents and businesses use unqualified ‘ Retired ’ Related to lithium batteries. "

  Enterprises with high standards are embarrassed to build into "inferior" and "white list"

  In order to standardize the comprehensive utilization industry of waste lithium batteries, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has announced a total of 84 enterprises that meet the standard conditions since 2018, which are called "white list" enterprises in the industry. The reporter recently visited some "white list" enterprises, and they said that the "white list" enterprises established with high standards are encountering the embarrassing situation that "bad money drives out good money".

  Raw materials are easily "stuck in the neck", and idle production capacity is the normal state. For lithium battery comprehensive utilization enterprises, waste lithium batteries are their raw materials for production. Liao Longjiang said that because waste lithium batteries are scattered in the hands of countless recycling subjects, white-listed enterprises need to be docked one by one, which requires higher costs, and it is normal for the production line to "not eat enough".

  According to the "white list" enterprises interviewed, there is no threshold for recycling used lithium batteries in some large automobile factories or battery factories, and those who have money and connections can be towed away directly, which is also one of the reasons why "white list" enterprises are "not full".

  In terms of price, "traders pay special attention to the price, and when the market is good, they make great efforts to ship, and when the market is not good, property hoarding, ‘ White list ’ The quantity and price of raw materials of enterprises are not stably supplied, which affects production and operation. " A "white list" business manager said.

  In addition, the comprehensive cost of "white list" enterprises is "inferior", and sometimes they can’t compete with some "small factories" with incomplete licenses. Hu Jian, deputy general manager of Jiangxi Ruida New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. said that "white list" enterprises should ensure lithium battery recycling efficiency, environmental protection standards and safe production, and invest heavily in R&D investment, equipment upgrading and plant construction.

  A lithium battery recycling enterprise under Ganfeng Lithium Industry also reflected that "these licenses are incomplete ‘ Small factory ’ The operation cost is low. And ‘ with complete environmental protection and safety facilities; White list ’ Compared with enterprises, they can buy raw materials at a higher price, and the processed products are sold at a lower price, resulting in ‘ White list ’ Enterprises sometimes cannot compete with them. "

  Speeding up the formulation of standards and promoting benign development

  Experts and enterprises interviewed said that the recycling of waste lithium batteries can not only solve the environmental problems brought by retired lithium batteries, but also help to make up for the shortage of key mineral resources such as lithium, cobalt and nickel in China. On the occasion of the "retirement tide" of power batteries in new energy vehicles, efforts should be made to standardize recycling channels, formulate industry standards and strengthen supervision to promote the benign development of waste lithium batteries recycling industry.

  First, standardize the recycling channels and improve the traceability mechanism. Dr Weng Yaqing from the Institute of Applied Chemistry, Jiangxi Academy of Sciences believes that waste lithium batteries often produce pollutants such as waste gas, waste water and heavy metal waste residue, and environmental protection is particularly important in the process from recycling to comprehensive utilization. Hu Jian and others suggested that the state should improve the access threshold for recycling used lithium batteries and establish a unified trading platform for used lithium batteries nationwide, which will help standardize the recycling channels of used lithium batteries and realize the traceability of used lithium batteries.

  Secondly, formulate standards to guide the healthy development of the industry. Shen Zuying, director of the Three Electricity Division of Jiangling Group New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd. and others suggested that national standards such as recycling evaluation and value evaluation of used lithium batteries should be formulated as soon as possible to lead the healthy development of the industry. Meng Dejiang said that waste lithium batteries have a wide range of applications, so it is necessary to determine the specific industries first, and then formulate specific standards from the perspective of application to ensure more operability in implementation.

  In addition, it is necessary to strengthen supervision to ensure that the system is effective. Liao Longjiang and others said that the design and original intention of the "white list" system are good, but the effective implementation of a good system depends on the concerted efforts of multi-department Qi Xin, and the departments of ecological environment, market supervision and transportation should strengthen supervision. For example, the processing factories with incomplete qualifications should be investigated and punished, and lithium-ion bicycle distribution stores, socialized waste recycling points and vehicles transporting used lithium batteries should be inspected regularly, so as to gradually guide the development of the whole industry to be more standardized, professional and safe.